The Importance of Titles by Christine Duncan Once again it was reading that drove home the writing rule. You know the rule I’m talking about. Hone that title.

I’ve spent a lot of time writing titles over the years. And frankly, sometimes I’ve thought it was wasted time. Here on the blog, it seems to me that tags are the important thing. Write a tag that catches the post’s ideas and readers can tag surf here or are directed by Google and by WordPress itself.

But titles still mean something. The other day I was looking for a book on Yoga. I’m taking a class in it to help my flexibility and my running and yeah, my balance. Well, really my balance. (Okay, so I fall a lot when I run and I was appalled to find I couldn’t stand on one foot for very long.)

Anyway, I’ve paged through old copies of Yoga Journal, read excerpts of books and basically been totally lost in the language of yoga. You want me to do a who/what? I don’t speak sanskrit. And what exactly does Namaste mean? Are you calling me a name or something?

So anyway, back to the other day–I’m going along the shelf and there are a ton of books on Yoga. Many promise me to take my practice to a new level. If only my practice had a level. A book on Yoga for beginners looked interesting until I realized that it must be beginning Buddhists or something. I am not really interested in finding a meditative practice or a new religion. I’m good with being Christian. Really.

I ended up with the book that I got because of the title. The title drew me in. The No Om Zone. Subtitle? A No-Chanting, No Granola, No Sanskrit, Practical Guide to Yoga. Yes! I can handle that.

Tell me what you really mean.

Of course, follow-through is important. If you page through a book and realize that the title is not backed up by the text (or even the first page) you’re not going to go for it. So authors, you still have to work on that first or second draft you’re writing.

But if you need a break from transitions, plot points and denouement, try working on that title. It really does make a difference.


2 responses to “The Importance of Titles by Christine Duncan

  1. I often find that trying to come up with the title is often the hardest part of the story.

    Sometimes they do jump out at you as you’re writing the story, but more often than not (at least in my case), the title remains frustratingly elusive.

    Example: One story that I wrote started off by being called “Cedar Mountain Ecstasy”. After the first rewrite it became “E”. Second rewrite it became “It’s Just Business”. When I get around to doing a third rewrite (and I know I will), I’m sure that the title will change once again.

  2. I have problems with titles too. They always change halfway through. The first title usual ends up being something ‘that story with the bridge’ because I know I’ll come up with something better whilst writing. Plus it’ll probably end up having nothing to do with a bridge.

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