Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's In A Name?

Remember the quote from Shakespeare that goes something like What's in a name? A rose by any other name will smell as sweet. That may be true, but when it comes to giving a name to a novel, essay, short story or any kind of writing, it's more important than some writers realize.

I've known writers who literally slap a title on something they've spent hours, days or weeks writing. They need to spend some time playing with titles to find the best fit. Why?

Picture yourself in a bookstore or the library looking for a book. You scan the titles as you walk up and down the wall of shelves. Hundreds of books stand like soldiers at attention. What makes you pull one out to look at? A title that leaves you wondering or one that makes you smile. The title needs to reach out and grab you, make you want to read the book.

Some authors lift a quote from the story to use as the title. Some work at creating a puzzle or question while others use very generic titles. Whatever you use, ask yourself if the title will pull in readers, for that is what you are trying to do. A title can draw or be detrimental, so take care in selecting one. You choose a name for your children with care, do the same with your writing 'babies.'

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