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Monday, March 19, 2012

Gorillas in the Mist by Linda S. Glaz


Gorillas in the Mist.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
A Fish Named Wanda
A Streetcar Named Desire
Twister

All of these titles draw us immediately in and cause us to wonder just what the story is about. A story can be stellar, but if the title is ho-hem, your story will not get the attention you want it to have.

If you're a Motowner or Motown wannabe, Gran Torino will also hook you.

Second Hand Lions. Don't you want to know what follows?

So often we fall in love with titles that have little to do with the meat of the story; the words strung together simply sound nice for whatever reason. Are you able to let go and allow a title to grow from the story? A title is the first thing a reader sees; make yours come alive.

6 comments:

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Great post! Yes, that title can be gripping and memorable, or it can fall flat. To Kill a Mockingbird is the perfect example of a title that picked up on subtleties in the story and somehow magnified them in the right way. I wonder if Twilight would've been so successful if it would've used her preferred title: "Forks."

Linda Glaz said...

To Kill a Mockingbird is a perfect example. I didn't know that about Twilight; yes, that would have changed the entire scenario.

jill said...

"Forks" would just make me think it was about cutlery :) This is my weakest area. Any tips on how to create a great title? I feel like I am such a title failure, and I know how important it is. At a conference once, I pitched my book to two editors and got no response. I went home and retitled it. Got two bites the next day. So important.

Terry Burns said...

The title will end up being the call of the publisher in the long run, but a good title is important to catching the eye of that acquiring editor. Much of the time I find the title comes from some critical line in the book.

Linda Glaz said...

Also, let's say you're writing about hope. You can type "hope expressions" into a search engine and come up with all kinds of quotes about hope. Sometimes that helps...

Sharyn said...

I like to write down a bunch of ideas -- key words, character traits, where the book takes place, the kind of community it is, words related to the genre, the mood/tone of the book/article, etc. Then I put it aside & move on to something else, waiting for my "muse" to nudge me with the right title. It works for me.

Of course, there are also the times I know the title of the book before I even start writing it!

Once you have a few good ideas, it doesn't hurt to Google some of the titles just to make sure they're not over-done or are related to a website you'd rather not be accidentally connected to. . . .