Draw readers in with a title that demands engagement
Story titles are important. They’re also the WORST.
I’ve written elsewhere about how a title change was an instrumental part of the overhaul that took one of my decades-old short stories from an unpublishable mess to an acceptance by the first place I submitted it in its revised form. It wasn’t the only major change, of course, but it was significant. A story’s title is its identity, distilled into a single line. Which is not to say that a boring title automatically equals a boring story, but it’s certainly not pulling its weight. And there’s no room for slacking off in those critical first few sentences.
But some stories simply refuse to be named. (Which is how they end up being called The Doll for almost 30 years… but I digress.) So if you’ve found yourself faced with such an unreasonable narrative, here are some tips and tricks for finding the perfect title to intrigue, inspire and entice your readers.
An occasional series looking at the genesis of a story, from the initial spark of inspiration, through conceptual development, the writing process, and what happens next. You’ll find writing tips at the end, based on what I’ve learned along the way. In this blog, I’ll be looking at Little Feet, my Christmas-themed ghost story that appears in the newly released anthology It Calls From The Veil.
One of the stories I like to share with classes or mentoring clients, when discouragement seems to loom, is how long it took me to go from a completed first draft to a published novel with Edge of Heaven, my debut. (Twenty-two years, if you’re interested.) Little Feet beats that record by a country mile. Never give up .
That said, I’m not 100% sure when I first wrote Little Feet. I have a draft on my laptop that dates from 2001, but it’s not the earliest version; the earliest version is almost certainly on some floppy disk somewhere – it’s that old. Some time in the mid-90s is my best guess, and it wasn’t called Little Feet in those days. Back then, it laboured under the deeply unimaginative title of The Doll, and it was substantially different in several key ways.
Tips, tricks & advice to help your writing shine
Blog updates on the first of every month.