Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's in a Name

Psalm 45: 17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

Have you ever surfed through Amazon, the library, bookstores, looking for a book to buy, read, or borrow, or in some cases, download? My next question is this: What made you pick that book up that your holding in your hand? The title.

The title of a story or book can have some real lasting affects on you as a reader. It also can make or break you as a writer. If you’re not catching readers with a title, then you need a really good picture on the cover, and if you have a lousy title, so-so picture, you’re gonna need a daggone excellent review of what your book is about.

Short stories don’t have the luxury (most of the time) of a pic to pull you in. Your title is going to need power behind it. There’s that word again. POWER! You see, I said in a previous post that words are power and I meant it in every way shape and form.

Today I was at a Short Story site. I lingered through the titles and found that the ones I read had a really cool title. I’m wondering if Stephen King’s book Carrie, got rejected numerous times because of the simple title. A whacky title, by a whacky author, may have gotten the story accepted much sooner.

Before you submit, check to see if you have a powerful enough title, or quirky enough title to get you accepted. Look at Chicken Soup for the Soul and how successful that series has become. Had it just been titled Soul Stories, it may not have had the draw and pull that has readers across the world diving in for a swim.

My son pointed out the other day, that my blog might have had better success had I had a stronger name. Now as I sit here three years after starting this blog, knowing a lot more than I did back then, I think he’s right. He has a blog titled Poems Have Hearts, and my fiancĂ© has one titled, The Drums in the Deep, and I’m thinking, a title is everything.

Now keep in mind also, that I’ve read some books because the title was luring, the review interesting, only to read the book, get half way through and find it an utter disaster. I like quality writing and I can usually tell right off whether the story is going to work or not. I’ve even been known to read an entire story of bad writing, just to give an author the chance to be read. But, I would never read from that author again and that’s a shame.

Also, I was always taught that it is in bad form to start off with dialogue. As I was going through the short story site, many of the writer’s used dialogue to drag me into their story. It was through the dialogue that interested me in their characters and to keep the writing consistent, I kept reading. Maybe in short stories it is acceptable to start with dialogue because people don’t have much time to invest in the character. Good dialogue between two characters makes you stand up and read.

So, the title that I read today? Why not a Duck? There’s another tip, ask a question in your title. You know why? Because it is human nature for us to be inquisitive, and we as readers will want to know the answer!

1 comment:

Stormcrow said...

A catchy title will definitely attract people to your book or story but the content is what will get people talking.