Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Titles, oh God

Can I be honest and admit that I HATE titling my work? So much pressure....how do you possibly capture an entire novel in three or four words, even eight or nine? Hell, I can't even capture my novel in one-page synopsis without stopping every few minutes to shop for a gun online.

I wish I could hang a blue handicap sign on the cover page of my novel, something saying "Author Title Challenged." There, free parking.

How can I have such confidence in my story and contempt for any title I come up with? Quite easy, really, especially if you have titles like these:

Horrible Novel
Insert Gun, Pull Trigger

I can scan my bookshelves and find so many genius titles. Why could't I have dreamed up these gems?

The Violent Bear it Away
Their Eyes Were Watching God
The House of Sand and Fog
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lonesome Dove
Fahrenheit 451
Catcher in the Rye
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Blood Meridian
A Prayer For Owen Meany
Cry the Beloved Country

Yes, I could go on. A writer friend of mine says your entire book should be found in your title and your first sentence. While I agree, finding the right words is another sisyphean task altogether. Roll that rock up the hill and watch it come right back at you.

I need a rock pusher!

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