Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I'll confess. I love titles. For any given story I can generate a dozen or more titles. In fact I have a file full of titles with no stories attached to them–yet. Every once in a while I'll go to that file, pull out a title and write a story for it. Mostly, once I do that, the story outlives that starter title and finds another one more suited to it.

Minds are rambling things that work in complicated ways. Mine just happens to like the notion of short, snappy collections of words that serve no purpose other than to lead to more permanent words. Sometimes in my classes I organize title swaps, where students generate titles for the sole purpose of giving them away. At first that takes courage–it's hard to get over this sense we have that we shouldn't "give" our words away. It's a good exercise in developing the ability to cut your own words as you must do in revision.


  1. I love titles too, Uma! I can't start a book without a title and I will often have a title for years before I come up with the story that goes with it but it is always the right story.

  2. I keep lists of discarded titles as well–things that served me well as working titles but later got dumped.