Titles

Dear World

Please Kill Me,

Greetings, my dewy-eyed children of post-inebriation. Well it’s finally Friday, and that means the same thing that the other four days meant – at least for me (I’ve got priorities and shit.), you do you, though. I hope you guys have a weekend filled with all the things you can drink, snort, insert, inject, absorb – and subsequently vomit out of your body.

*Sidenote – ^ was a joke – please don’t do anything illegal or dangerous (Not that I care,  I just don’t want to lose readers). #sendingpostivevibes.

So, Title – That thing your significant other won’t stop nagging you about (and for good reason you sexy beast you). As a fact, I would like to talk about titles  (i.e. stories, novels, essays, blog posts, etc.).

For those of you paying attention, you may have noticed that though my titles (for blog posts) are often straight forward -when I submit something creative to your subsequent eyeballs – it tends to come off a little eclectic (looking at you The Loathsome Burden of Present Peril).

You see what I mean? (Before I go on you should probably know that I have a certain obsession with complex/misleading titles.) Now, this isn’t just some random mashing together of words. Nor is it the first thing that popped up in my head. In actuality, choosing a title is an art – and has a process all it’s own (albeit far less of a pain in the ass than the writing).

I’ll often think a story through for a while, before starting the actual writing process. Sure there are certain changes, and twists that may occur during the writing process, but for the most part I abstain from even looking at the blank page until about 75% of the story is solidly formed in my subconscious.

From there I let my creativity take the wheel (keep in mind, everyone has a different process. Do what works best for you.) , this just so happens to be the best way to keep me engaged with the story.

Once the bricks are laid in my mind, I begin to write. This is where the naming process comes in. About 30% of the time, the title will just jump up at me from off of the page. About 45% of the time, it will just pop up in my head at any random moment pre/post/ or during writing. The other 25% of the time (is that math right? Fuck it. it’s right. Don’t look at it.) I have to literally stare into the depths of space, while mentally excavating the little sanity I have left to find a title that “fits“. Needless to say, this is my least favorite way of coming up with a title.

Titles are your first line of defense in attracting readers. Sure, you could be a lazy ass about it, (*stares angrily at novelization of  Snakes on a Plane*) But you would then have to admit to yourself that your audience is about as mentally benign as a bowl of potato soup. (Wow, that insult was oddly British, #HowsBritain?) 

Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix it up. Give your audience a sense of the story, without giving away any of it. Entice them with your literary lingerie. (i.e. ANY Harry Potter title.) It is in this respect that we (not unlike poets) must put the perfect words, in perfect order, in a limited space, and make them sing.

Kind of invigorating when you think of it in that way right? Now, obviously blog posts (like this one) are different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. Remember there’s always a time and place for certain processes and methods – so learn to identify when a specific moment requires a specific method. This one was easy. I wanted to talk about titles, so I titled it Title. (Say that 4 times fast. Did you do it? Dummy. Keep reading).

Maybe I’m looking too much into this one, but to me – if I’m going to create something- I’m going to give every small (and at times seemingly irrelevant) detail the same intensive care. Though admittedly, results do vary.

Just saying that it never hurts to give your title a little mental room to be more than just a name.

*throws novelization of Snakes on a Place into fireplace*

-Antwan Crump.

P.S. Speaking of which, I almost forgot. I’ve got a new short story out, for those of you who missed it and/or are curious. Here it is ( – The Night, That Stood the Longest – ) , it was actually the inspiration for this post about titles. Warning, there’s a lot more profanity than usual.  You’ve been warned. Enjoy!

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