In Part 1 on this topic, I wrote about using a basic three verse poem to expand on a story idea.
In Part 2, I took it to the next level with three more verses to beef up the information about the story.
In Part 3, I listed the ingredients I would consider when writing a short story.
I have now written a short story from scratch, based on that simple poem displayed in Part 1 and Part 2. Until I completed the story, I used the same working title as used with the poem. A working title allows the writer to get on with the writing. Too much time can be spent procrastinating about the right title.
Like everything else you’ll read in my blog, I have my own theory with regard to titles. I believe it’s much better to work on the title after the story is written. The story may change slightly from the original idea (which mine did), but the title must still do its job – and attract interest. As soon as the first draft of my story was done I found I’d gone over my self-imposed 1500 word limit by 150 words, so I trimmed it to 1500 words.
I saved the story and then spent about 15 minutes writing out every title idea that came to mind. The whole story was fresh in my mind so I ended up with about 20 titles. Titles are easy, but the appropriate title is the one that works. Here are my top three:
– Death and Glory
– Diary of a Warrior
– A Time for Courage
In my final post on this topic I’ll produce the short story, which by then will only have been edited in a couple of rapid sessions, so it may yet change. I do feel it will still round off the task I set myself with this mini-series of posts.
Remember, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use this system to write a novel. My novel ‘Beyond The Law’ started out as an experimental poem, which stretched into a series of 26 poems.
As always, thank you for your indulgence.
6 thoughts on “Why is it good to try writing poetry? Part 4”
I’m horrible with titles. Sometimes the title comes to me with the idea–and I usually don’t change that. Sometimes I go through the entire book without a title and finally come up with something, but it’s definitely a struggle.
Hi Stephanie. It was the struggle with some of my short stories that led me to the brainstorming idea, but I think it works. You are not alone with the struggle – it’s a natural part of the process for us. 🙂
It’s so interesting to read about how other writers approach their work. From you, I’m picking up lots of tips I will try out and adapt for my own practice.
I think titles are so difficult to choose! Trying to name a novel reminds me of trying to name my daughter. The moment she was born, I knew the name we had chosen for her was all wrong. It took a few days to come up with the right one! Naming novels is, I would say, at least as challenging!
Totally agree Julia. I like that anecdote about your daughter. My present thriller is titled ‘Amsterdam Calling’, but until the third draft it had about four titles listed. I used the same method as usual, but did it earlier and listed after each draft. I’m happy with what I’ve got now, because I know the story and characters well enough.
I always write my titles after I write my piece. It’s a natural progression in my mind. As an Internet writer, I try to focus on revealing titles, so my readers have an idea of what to expect when they click on the link. I’m pretty up front, especially when it comes to book and movie reviews, recipes, how-to’s etc. Your idea about writing all the ones that come to mind sounds nice. I may have to try that sometime.
Thank you for the visit and comment. I’ve found that the idea puts my mind at ease to do the writing. In most cases there are a couple of words that continue to crop up in my list of titles, but that’s not such a bad thing.
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