Susan Morris talks about titles. This relates to Cat Sparks’s article that I reposted here and my own comments in this post on standing out in the slush pile.
As everyone knows, the legendary One True Title captures the feel and meaning of a book perfectly, draws readers in from across a crowded bookstore, and doesn’t make you sound like a dumbass at all.
I really like Susan’s example of brainstorming a cloud of words and then throwing them around, magnetic-poetry style.
Come up with a whole pile of words that tackle as many different angles of your book as you can. You don’t want to focus all your energy on coming up with a title that capitalizes on the main character, because that could be a dead end, whereas there could be a killer title hiding behind the villain’s smile, or in a twist of the plot.
Check it out, it’s worth having a look at and although the focus here is books, I think it could be applicable to brainstorming short fiction titles, too: http://www.omnivoracious.com/2012/05/one-title-to-rule-them-all-naming-your-book.html
Cat Sparks writes on David McDonald‘s blog about the importance of choosing a strong, poetic title for your story.
To me, it’s a bit like this: when you attend an important event, such as a wedding or dinner party, you dress accordingly and mostly that means smart clothes. To turn up in tracky pants and a dirty t-shirt is lazy, amongst other things. Boring titles are lazy. Writing is hard work. Why top off your efforts with something slack and half arsed?
I’ve mentioned this briefly in an older post, How To Stand Out in the Slush Pile, and Cat is absolutely right: a powerful title predisposes the reader, sets expectations. Obviously you want those to be as accurate as possible, to avoid disappointment. At the same time, you can use this to your advantage, if for example you want to lead the reader astray with a red herring. Careful not to annoy them though, especially if the reader is someone you want to convince to buy your submission.
If a slushpile story title is intriguing, I am automatically predisposed to want to like the story that comes with it. Maybe I won’t end up liking it after all, but isn’t positive anticipation an excellent place to start?
Read the original here: http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/2012/04/cat-sparks/