Tantalising Titles

A quick one this week, in keeping with the subject matter…

How do you choose your titles?

IMG_2232Whether it’s poetry or prose, how easy do you find it to sum everything up in a tight little title? Do you sum it all up? What inspires you when you come to this part of the writing process? When do you write it? First or last? Does the title inspire the story/poem, or does it grow from the writing? Do you want your title to hint at what’s to come, or be a bit more open-ended?

I’ll admit it – titles are like book covers to me – they definitely help me decide what to pick up. A lovely artistic cover design (bright and bold, or dark and macabre) will get me every time. Likewise, an intriguing title and, well, anything with the words ‘magic’ and ‘enchanted’ is always going to hook my attention… (What can I say – I’m a fantasy writer!)

As a journalist, I’m used to writing snappy headlines, but when it comes to creative writing, I find the task a bit more challenging. Whether you want to admit it or not, a good title can make the difference, I think, in getting someone to stop and pay attention to your book/story/poem.IMG_2234

I’m currently writing a short story collection and my choice of titles are all quite similar (intriguing? Perhaps. A good idea? Hmm, we’ll see), in that they seem self-explanatory but the story reveals so much more. I’m being deliberately cloak and dagger here, as I want to wait until the collection’s complete before putting it all out in the open, but let’s just say – titles are on my mind.

I’m a sucker for alliteration (see above!) and although I, ironically, can’t stand hearing too much of it myself (TV presenters I refer to you for starters!), I have to keep it in check when I write. Somehow, it has sunk it’s claws into me and so, yes, my titles are often alliterative.

I sometimes write them first; I sometimes write them last. They can come to me mid-story, or take an age to be picked out. Sometimes I love them – sometimes, I’m not so sure.Q

How do you do titles? I’m intrigued to know…

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