Monthly Archives: March 2010

Finding the Title of your Short Story, Novella or Novel

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Finding the title of your short story, novella or novel can be frustrating and difficult. It took me several months of trying to finally arrive at the title Seraphym Wars. There are certain guidelines that help and bloggers have suggestions all the time. So I’m going to throw in my two-cent’s worth.

  1. Look at titles from your genre in the bookstore and online (Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com). Jot down your favorites.
  1. Keep it short and simple – one to three words works best. You may use a subtitle, but it’s not a requirement.
  1. Create a list of as many titles as you can think of that relate to your story’s theme, genre, characters, plot, setting (especially if you world-built). Use a thesaurus.
  1. Survey family and friends to choose their favorite three titles from your list. Narrow the list and resurvey until you have about five to choose from.
  1. Make sure it relates to the genre of your story.
  1. Use the title in conversation. Create a title page. How does it look and sound? If you don’t like it, change it. (I went through about four titles)
  1. Create a mock-up book jacket. Place the title on the spine and front. How does it look? Try this with the other four until you find one that displays well.
  1. Try using this link but don’t rely completely on it; use your own judgment. http://www.lulu.com/titlescorer/index.php (mine got a ‘22.9% chance of being a bestselling title!’ Which was the highest ANY of my suggestions got.)

What are some of the best titles you’ve come up with for stories?

What are some you came up with but didn’t use because they didn’t fit at the time?

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How to Write Politically Correct

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I received this an an Email recently and thought the lesson in writing too good to pass up.  Besides, it’s funny.

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in  southern California , was doing some personal  work on her own family tree. She discovered Congressman Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on
the gallows in  Montana  territory:

On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: ‘Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.’

So Judy recently e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.

Harry  Reid:


Believe it or not,  Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following  biographical sketch for her genealogy
research:

“Remus Reid was a  famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . His business empire grew to include acquisition of  valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings  with the Montana railroad.

Beginning in 1883, he  devoted several years of his life to government  service, finally taking leave to resume his  dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a  key player in a vital investigation run by the  renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away  during an important civic function held in his  honor when the platform upon which he was  standing collapsed.”

NOW, THAT’s how it’s done, folks!