Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ramblings of a Title Hobbyist

By Betsy Love

I’ve been thinking much lately about writing and the fun we as authors have in creating. We conjure up places, some real, some imaginary, for our characters. These people we give birth to, not in the sense we think of children, but ones from our mind's eye live and breathe, and think and conduct their lives, sometimes in ways more real to us than people we know in our waking worlds.

When one of my characters seems to hide from me, or a story won’t come and I’m stuck in the middle of a dilemma with my heroine hanging from a cliff by her fingernails, not knowing if she’s going to fall onto a branch below, or be rescued by her love interest, I have often turned to a book called The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood.

Let me tell you a little about this unique little gem I found a number of years ago. It has no page numbers. There are no chapters, no sections, and sometimes one thing that struck you as amazing, you can never find again. One day I found a little blub, and had to do a lot of searching before I relocated. It goes like this, “When stuck or bored with your work, try making up titles.”

It has become a hobby of mine to create story or poem titles. Here are a few of my favorites. And yes, I have a few story ideas based on them. But titles are not copyrighted and you may steal them and use them as you wish.

Morning, Gloria. Night, Violet.

Phantom of the Hoppera

Donuts for my Dear Dead Sister

If I Give You a Kiss made from Yankee Dimes

Sweet What?

Uhg, Love!

Below the Bridges

Ring

Buffalo Sunday

The Glass Cottage

Don’t Look in There

If You Think it Looks Good Now

Bip Bop Boop

Liver and Onions, Hold the Liver

The Crazies Live Next Door

I Have Grandma’s Hankie

Serenity’s Secret

Blossoms

Daisy and Nightsy

Lumps are for Oatmeal

You get the gist. Then once you’ve created your own list, what kind of characters would you create to go with each title. For instance: in the first title, “Morning Gloria. Night Violet,” I picture two teenage girls who are best friends, but are opposites in almost every way. Why are they friends? What is it about them that makes them like each other? I now have the beginnings of a story.

Create your own story title list. See where it takes your imagination. You never know who’s lurking in the recesses of your mind. Ooh, there’s another story title, “The Recess Lurkers.”

6 comments:

  1. How so true. I have often found that my sidekick characters turn out to my favorite.

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  2. The other day my daughter was watching a movie I ashed what she was watching, the Title was NEXT. I
    thought that was interesting as I was reading a book by Michael Crichton and the title is NEXT. Each one are totally different story lines and styles. I think I'll try this exercise to have some fun.
    In the meantime, I was inspired to write the following yesterday and since it is on the subject of writing I thought I'd patch it in here.
    Have a wonderful day!

    Writing Secrets Unlocked

    I recently obtained the book “The Holy Secret” by James L. Ferrell. While reading the beginning chapters today I received revelation that many of the things he said about reading would apply to writing as well. My adaptations and explanations are below.
    We should thoroughly consider the words we write. Ask our self what we want to convey and then carefully choose the word/s that most succinctly and accurately describe that thought. Try to think what the reader will understand the meaning to be. Various audiences interpret the same words and sayings different from others because of their language, culture, religions, region, environment and life experiences.
    Ask yourself why you want to write this particular message. Was there an actual incident or experience that inspired your urge to write? Did you personally observe it? Did you journal about it? Did a movie, book, news report or other media tickle your writing bone? Did you document the source for future reference?
    Have you taken time to ponder about the subject by doing research? Have you given yourself “thinking” time? Did you record the feelings and thoughts or dreams you had during this period?
    Converse with your inner self to determine what tone, which words, style pattern would convey the message in the best manner. Consider prose, poetry, Lyrics, music, fiction, and / or non-fiction avenues. Is it a fresh method to observe this topic? Are the similes and / or metaphors appropriate, non-cliché, or a new way to view an old subject.
    Lastly, does the work portray the image you want to project? When future generations read your words will they be able to understand? Would you be proud to have your offspring read it? When judgment day comes will you be comfortable that it is included in your book of life? Does it please and or satisfy you? If no one else agrees with you can you live with your opinion as stated?
    Reviewing the above questions and thoughts will give your written works a well rounded, solidly grounded voice. This type of careful consideration will open windows of opportunity to improve and embellish the manuscripts you create. Deep down inside I feel that my future scribbling will have significantly improved meaning and readability.
    Margaret Turley

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. What a wonderful idea, Betsy. I loved some of those titles. They were very intriging.
    I had been to a singles conference in Hattiesburg Mississipi last weekend and just found out what Yankee Dimes were. I had never heard of that before and I'm a Yankee. I'll try it to help my creativity. Thanks.
    Valerie J. Steimle of Loxley

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  5. I'm stymied on Yankee Dimes, and a few other terms, but I love the idea. Titles thought of beforehand must be easier than thinking of a good one after the story is written. Or writing the blurb to go on the back cover.

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  6. What fun, Betsy! I love your list. What are Yankee dimes???
    I have a list of titles, too...One is And Frank Came to the Wedding. I even know how the heroine meets Frank...because truth is stranger than fiction! Someday...sigh...

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