One book leads to another...

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Proceeding Titles

Welcome Writers! And a Happy Great Outdoors Month to everyone! 

There is so much to celebrate this month, and not the least of which is today, and here’s why:   Take a look around our awesome group by clicking the links below and check out the extensive list of writing tips and resources offered by the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex Cavanaugh, right here and right now on this first Wednesday of the month, when IWSG members convene through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter to talk about whatever is on our writing minds and agendas. See what we’re all talking about here

As for me:
I’ve chosen to answer the optional question of the month: “What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?”

When you think about it, Titles are pretty important. In describing your status at work, a title can inspire you to strive for a higher position. Along with a registration, a title will prove that you own the car that might have traveled a half-mile over the speed limit.  If not for titles, can you imagine having to search for the exact piece you’d been working on in an endless succession of unnamed “documents”?  

In fact, I usually have a title in mind whenever I begin a new manuscript, though I know it’s only temporary. For instance, The Lawn Mower Wheel sounds like an absolute yawn of read until you consider the hilarious chain of events that occur after one (wheel) shoots across the lawn on an otherwise ordinary afternoon. Add to that the unfortunate concussion incurred by an over-zealous developer intent on mowing down a picturesque neighborhood for the sake of a glass-walled high-rise and the finished story might well be called “The Mower”; a title more likely to pique a reader’s interest. In relation to books, titles aren’t simply important; they are highly potent marketing tools.

I love naming Characters! I’ve actually named a few who went unnamed in a story, if only for my own reference. On occasion (when it fits) I’ve named a menacing rabid dog Sweet Pea while her diminutive mild-mannered owner went by the name Thor.  In my experience, the perfectly normal propensity to discover and use the most unique, and therefore memorable, character names can backfire.  If the name is too long, too unusual, or frankly, forgettable, so becomes the character to the reader (also my experience). It can be challenging at times, but in the interest of keeping a reader’s interest, it’s worth considering 😉

So, how’s your journey? What will you write this summer? What was the last Drive-In movie you went to see?

Happy Writing!


  1. Hi, diedre!

    The question of the month is a great one and I am glad you chose to answer it. "The Mower" is a title that would surely pique my interest. It might even be more powerful, mysterious and compelling as "Mower." It brings to mind "Duel," the first full length feature film directed by Steven Spielberg. In my writing I find it easier to come up with titles than to name characters. While it may be true that some unusual character names are forgettable, I still remember the ones my eighth grade English Literature teacher introduced, among them Pip, Miss Havisham, Mr Pumblechook and Biddy in Great Expectations. I love the idea of giving an ironic name to a character. Brutus the Chihuahua comes to mind.

    As I recall the last Drive-in movie I went to see was Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, co-written by Meyer and Roger Ebert. The cult classic was released at the start of summer 1970.

    It's great to see you, diedre. Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend!

    1. Hi Shady!
      I saw the movie "Duel" right about the time my dad's side of the family owned a Moving and Storage Company. It sure gave me second thoughts about what happens on those long hauls ;-)
      The last movie I saw at a Drive-in had to be one starring Bruce Lee, considering the company I kept back then (1973)
      I always liked the names Ebenezer Scrooge and Ramona Quimby ;-)
      Thanks for commenting, my friend. It's good to see you!

  2. I like The Mower--ominous and looming with "Lawn." I'm still pondering a name for my WIP, but previous titles came pretty easily after some pondering. I don't remember the last drive-in movie I saw--perhaps there were sharks involved? My friend's father was the projectionist at our local drive-in, a hotbed of teenage romance, lust and drama.

    1. Hi Rhonda!

      Thanks! I came up with the 'Mower' story as I wrote this post ;-)

      Ha! It seems having your dad as projectionist (or even in proximity) at the Drive-in might be more of a deterrent for youthful shenanigans than even Bruce Lee movies!

      Sometimes, thinking of one descriptive, centralizing word helps in establishing the perfect title for the story. Good luck!

  3. The Mower does sound better. Shorter is often better.
    I do't even remember the last time I went to a drive-in.

    1. Hi Alex!

      I agree, less is more ;-)

      I wish we still had a Drive-in here, if only for the sake of nostalgia.

  4. dIEDRE ~
    I've always enjoyed coming up with titles and character names. ...And that's usually about where my writing comes to an end.

    Hokey-Smoke! The last movie I saw at a drive-in? Like it has been for you, it's been awhile for me.

    I think it may have been 'BILLY JACK'.

    And the last movie I saw just in a regular movie theatre was 'SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE'. (I actually watch a LOT of movies, but primarily older ones and always on DVD.)

    ~ Stephen

    1. Howdy Reno!

      As evidenced by your posts, your writing gets ever-better - with no end in sight.
      I don't remember when I first saw "Billy Jack" but I've watched it more than once.
      Speaking of titles, your BOTB sounds interesting - I'll be by soon ;-)
      Happy National Drive-in Day!

  5. Hi Diedre ... the wheel coming off a mowing machine makes for bloody thoughts ... but can see the terror and turmoil the outcome could develop into. The Mower is a better title! Drive In Movie - last one was in South Africa ... yonks ago!! Cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary!

      It's wonderful to see you! Once again, you've introduced a new word (to me, anyway) - "Yonks" ;-) I bet you have some tremendously good stories about South Africa!

  6. Hi diedre; "The Mower" is a great title and conjures up all kinds of ominous scenarios! ☺ The odd couple of "Sweetpea and Thor" gave me a chuckle. We still have a drive-in here, but it's been years and I can't remember the last movie we saw. Time to make a date with hubby!

    1. Hi Debbie!
      Date Night at the Drive-in sounds fabulous, doesn't it? It's already way too hot here. I don't know how I withstood the extremely warm evenings in the 'old days' - ha!

  7. Sweet Pea & Thor - love those names and how they're the reverse of what the characters are really like.

    1. Hi Ellen!
      Thanks! Even writers can have a little fun, right?
      Often, unexpectedly funny fiction makes sense when you want to ease the edge or add intrigue; depending on the intended audience.
      Good luck and enjoy!


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