Friday, June 14, 2013
When some people encounter the dense and complicated maze of book titles, they break into a sweat? Once upon a long time back, I was tormented and tortured by title trouble. I love writing, but when it used to come to choosing a title for my work, then, I would end up tearing my hair in frustration.
The titles of my stories and features would be a complete mismatch with its contents. My journalism lecturer in college constantly urged me to choose better titles for my articles and features. According to her my titles never did my writing justice. They were not catchy enough. This habit continued even when I started writing for newspapers. Often the titles of the features and stories I sent were changed. And changed for the better.
I constantly wondered how other writers came up with such amazing titles. Jealousy and envy stabbed my heart whenever I read their titles.
To become title savvy, I plunged headlong into the world of titles. It couldn’t be that hard, I thought. If few writers could achieve wonders with it, so could I. Whenever I read any articles or books, I pondered over the titles. Did it suit the story? What did it highlight? Slowly I transferred this detailed attention onto my work. What was I trying to tell my readers? What was the article/book all about? How could I sum up the work in a few words? What was the best way to convey what I had written?
It was a tedious task, but eventually I got the hang of it. Nowadays the title trauma no longer affects me. For the past several years, the editors have thankfully retained most of my titles. In my title quest, I have learnt several things about them.
1. A title should be like a teaser. It should arouse curiousity. Based on the titles readers pick up books, or, read the articles and stories in newspapers.
2. Diving into the heart of the story to emerge with a suitable title is a great idea.
3. Short and snappy titles have immediate attraction.
4. Popular and catchy phrases work better than long and boring ones.
5. Titles that have instant recall are seldom forgotten.
What about you all? Do titles trouble and torment you? Or are you the lucky ones who come up with winners? Do you have any title tips that you would like to share?
Friday, June 7, 2013
As none of my close friends write, infact most of them don’t even read books, I would have been completely lost if I did not have writing friends (most of my close writing friends are my blog buddies and crit partners) to discuss my writing with.
With respects to my close friends (they are wonderful people, doing exceptionally well in their chosen professions), but writing advice is something I don’t take from them. They would be at sea if I were to discuss plot points, character arcs, sub-plots, story arcs, query letters and exclusives, etc.
It’s only with my writing friends that I can discuss all things related to writing and publishing. I can freely send them my query letter, first few pages, synopsis and work on the feedback they send me.
Sometimes I feel, that my close friends look zapped if I tell them that I am in the midst of writer’s block. For many people, they feel that a writer’s job is to open a blank page and start typing. Then once a feature, story or book is complete, it’s sent to the editor. And a writer’s job ends, atleast where that particular piece is concerned. If only it were so!
When I told a friend that my last manuscript had undergone several drafts and revisions, her jaw hit the floor. “I thought you had finished writing it,” she said. “That was revision number 12,” I replied. I watched her blink rapidly, trying to take in my words. She was under the impression that we send out our first drafts and the editors at the publishing house twiddle their thumbs, waiting for our submissions to hit their inbox. The moment they read our work, they sign us on the spot. She had no idea how picky the editors were. She had never heard of the revision requests they sent to writers.
Another writer would nod at each and everything we say, cause they have traveled that path and our familiar with what we are undergoing. Another writer will also give us unbiased and constructive feedback. If not for my writing buddies (read blog buddies), I would go nuts.
What about you all? Do your close friends understand your situation? Do they understand your writing problems? Are you like me dependent on your writing friends for discussions related to writing and publishing?
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
This is my sixth post since I joined the InsecureWriter’s Support Group, started by Alex Cavanaugh. We meet on the first Wednesday of every month to share our writing insecurities, fears and anxieties and support each other.
One of my writing insecurities is not being able to attend conferences. Whenever I read about writers going for a one-to one pitch sessions, or whenever I read that writers met their agents at a conference, I do feel a small twinge of envy.
It would be wonderful to attend a conference, listen to the experts speak about the current trends in publishing, the art of crafting the perfect story, meet other writers as well as literary agents, attend crit sessions and meet editors of publishing houses.
The Bangalore Lit Fest I attended last year (it was mine, as well as Bangalore’s first lit fest) gave me a taste of what happens at conferences. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any one-to-one with the editors. There were just question- answer sessions with editors, where random people in the audience asked questions, which the panel replied to.
Have you all attended a conference, had a one-to-one pitch with agents, maybe attended a group crit session, listened to the experts speak? What was the experience like for those who attended? And for those like me who have never been to such conferences, would you be interested in attending a conference? Do you have conference envy, like me?