Friday, August 24, 2012

What's In A Title? Invocation Of The Abominable...

...or something like that.  Coronado's Invocation might end up being the title, referencing fictional poet, Henry Coronado's epic work, read only once at an event called, Welcoming Chaos.  Perhaps Welcoming Chaos would work; that even sounds like a good title for the second collection.  Perhaps Maggot Eaters From The Cranial Dungeon Within, no.  Though, yes, I expect maggots may be laced throughout this one.  (I think of it as an intellectual affair, but...but...maggots, yeah, maggots would be a weird addition, lending it the appropriate horror nod I want it to embrace.) (That said, even without them, it's quite a horrific story, it's just...yeah, maggots.  Why not?)

So, what's in a story title?  Do you start with a title or allow it to come to you as the story takes shape?  Is it important to you?  It is for me, absolutely, but for others, sometimes I see titles to their works and think, what the...?  

The current WIP is a novelette/novella and will probably have one of the titles above.  Usually a title comes to me and sticks, sometimes from the beginning: I have a story in my collection called, I Wish I Was A Pretty Little Girl, which is a variation of a song title by the industrial death/noise band, Brighter Death Now.  For reasons only my muse understands, I wanted to write a story around that title.  So, as Captain Picard might say, Make it so!  And I did. 

Other times, titles keep shifting and it becomes a battle.  I want something catchy at all times, but sometimes...  For example, I have a story that started out being called, The Black.  It deals with a Lovecraftian entity that lives in the shadows of a strip club.  A Lovecraftian entity in need of sustenance.  Hence, the Live Nude Girls bring in the men, the meat, substance and souls, to appease the Lovecraftian  entity, which in turn grants the Live Nude Girls immortality.  Anyway, it started out being called, The Black, shifted to, Into The Black, then got chewed on as taffy and reshaped into, The Lust Vacuum, a slippery and quite appropriate title within the context of the story, though odd, yes, odd, which I quite like...but my publisher, as we went through the stories for the first collection, weren't too thrilled with that title.  They dug the story, but we decided on others--it will be in the second collection.  Anyway, what now?  I might have to figure out another title for that one.  Perhaps...Live Nude Girls And The Lovecraftian Entity That Loves Them?  Hmmmm...No!  Well, maybe...

Four mentions of a Lovecraftian entity in one paragraph, oh my.  If you can find it, the story appeared in The Corpse Magazine in the mid 2000s.  Otherwise, it should be in the next collection.

Then there's working with the publisher on that collection and the changing of one title at their suggestion.  The Perceptive One was originally called...oh wait!  In its original form, as a 3,000 word piece, it was called, A Torrent Of Ages. Then, expanded to 11,000 words and given the wonderful voice of Peg as narrator, it was changed to The Oblivion Express, a title I really like.  But when my publisher suggested calling it The Perceptive One...y' made sense.  I liked that vibe.  Why not?  I'm flexable when necessary.  No, don't go there, you perverts. What? Okay, so my warped brain went there.  Anyway, working with people who understood my writing, that made any changes or suggestions viable as opposed to me sticking my ego in the air and saying, no, I demand this story be called The Oblivion Express, arms folded, it's my ball, damnit, so my rules.  I don't work that way.  Open to discussion, especially in making the story and/or stories work. 

BTW, Strange Trees was originally called Shadows And Tall Trees after a U2 song from their first album, changed fairly late in the show, just before publication.  Why not?  More direct title, yet still making me want to read it.  Then again, I love strange trees, I'll read anything that hints at them...

So, important part of the process.  A great one can raise my curiosity for a story, while a lame one might not even inspire me to check it out.  (Then again, with some writers I truly enjoy, I don't really care what they call the story, just give me your demented visions, please and thank you!)

This spontaneous tangent--blog post, for those actually reading it--brought to you by my desire to get one written before we--Alessandra and moi--head up north for a week, a mini-vacation, which will be capped by seeing a free concert by Patti Smith in a piazza in Sienna, and I'm not even sure if we will have an internet connection.  Of course, even on the vacation, I will be dealing with, um, Coronado's Invocation Welcomes The Chaos of Maggots Spawned From the Cranial Dungeon Within The  Mind Of Yours Truly...or whatever it actually ends up being called. 

Remember that dream sequence from David Cronenberg's The Fly?  Well, here's a reminder...and one big freakin' maggot!  Enjoy!  (PS. That's Cronenberg holding the beautiful,


  1. Interesting!
    I actually write and write. I dont even know what my article will be titled till I have finished writing it.
    More ppl like me out there?

  2. That's the point, eh, Ambika? Gotta write write write in order or even consider the titles, hehe... ;-)

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