Friday, July 27, 2012

59 ~on writing


[first lines]
Photo Credit: IMDb
NARRATOR: “Vicky and Cristina decided to spend the summer in Barcelona. Vicky was completing her master’s in Catalan Identity, which she had become interested in through her great affection for the architecture of Gaudí. Cristina, who spent the last six months writing, directing, and acting in a 12-minute film which she then hated, had just broken up with yet another boyfriend and longed for a change of scenery. Everything feel into place when a distant relative of Vicky’s family who lived in Barcelona offered to put both girls up for July and August. The two best friends had been close since college and shared the same tastes and opinions on most matters, yet when it came to the subject of love, it would be hard to find two more dissimilar viewpoints. Vicky had no tolerance for pain and no lust for combat. She was grounded and realistic. Her requirements in a man were seriousness and stability. She had become engaged to Doug because he was decent and successful and understood the beauty of commitment.”

Tittle (a+b+x)=y:
—Vicky Cristina Barcelona, 20o8, Woody Allen.


They say titles should be short. So I laughed out loud when I came across this title ‘No matter how much you promise to cook or pay the rent you blew it cauze Bill Bailey ain’t never coming home again.’ For those who like to carry things to extremes, the shortest title I have in mind is ‘S.

Short? Long? Who cares?! I truly think writers don’t have to obsess about the length of the title. There are no rules written in stone. Said that, titles should explain the climax, be revealing, and create a half-open door for the readers to stick their heads inside the book.

How can I create a snappy title?
By elimination:

The old man and the sea, Ernest Hemingway.
Magic Tip: Soon after Hemingway finished writing ‘The old man and the sea,’ he made a list of titles—a hundred. Then, he discarded them one by one, until his list was reduced to one title.

By picking it up from real life:

Misery, Stephen King.
Magic Tip: Stephen king explains in his autobiography that he wrote this title because it’s what best conveyed his situation—he was a heavy drug addict and alcoholic.

By analogy:

Deconstructing INFATUATION, Merce Cardus.
Magic Tip: The theme of my novel is infatuation. So the first title I had in mind was—wait for it—Infatuation. I was not happy a hundred per cent with this because it lacked movement, so I had to add a verb. One day I was reading ‘Ferran’ by Colman Andrews, and I realized I was deconstructing infatuation the way Ferran deconstructed food.

By stealing it:

The sound and the fury, William Faulkner.
Magic Tip: He ‘stole’ it from the play 'McBeth', Act 5, Scene 5 ‘Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.

 ***For more Magic Writing, click the topic 'Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry' on the right side. 

Copyright © 2012 by THE PYTHAGOREAN STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

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