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Writers on Writing: Selected Quotations

THE TITLE


Image is almost everything. You have four seconds to impress your potential buyer. Be clear, use metaphor and make sure your title elicits a picture or an emotion. Keep your title short, preferable 5-7 words. Judy Cullins

Titles are chosen first of all to attract the eye of readers. Often the one you have given your book will not appeal to your editor. His judgment may be better, but not always. If your title means a lot to you, fight for it, and you just might win. Doris Picker Marston

Book titles point up the divergence (between American and British crime fiction): My Gun is Quick strikes one note, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club quite another. Pauline Glen Winslow

Writing a book that lacks a title feels a bit like owning a car with no license plates. Nicholas Weinstock

The title comes afterwards, usually with considerable difficulty….A working title often changes. Heinrich Boll

I make a list of titles after I’ve finished the story or the book—sometimes as many as a hundred. Then I start eliminating them, sometimes all of them. Ernest Hemingway

Know exactly who your core audience is, then choose a title that will resonate with those readers. A good title should be both informative and provocative. It should tell your reader what the book is about, at the same time, strike the right dramatic chord. Peter Rubie

When I need a title I’ll usually reread the poetry of Hart Crane. I take a copy of Crane’s work with me when I travel. A phrase will catch my eye and seem right for what I’m writing. But there’s no system to it. Tennessee Williams

Titles as a rule do not matter much. Very good authors break down when it comes to the effort of choosing a title. D. H. Lawrence


This page was last updated on: Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com

								

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