Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Author Conundrum - Titles

I do like that word: conundrum. I also like circumbendibus and egregious and a whole lot of other words my editor thinks I shouldn't use because readers are put off by them. It's sad, really, that Americans have such resentment toward their own language that they'd like to pare it down to dumbass email shorthand devoid of both precision and nuance. EFFDAT! Slap me for being a fossil, but, I repeat, EFFDAT.

The richness of our language is one of the few riches in which we can all partake...for free. (Maybe if we were charged per syllable for word usage, we'd appreciate language more. Maybe cost would give language the same kind of cachet sports cars and designer clothing/accessories/perfume have. But what a crock of unadulterated shit that would be, ain'a?)

Anyway, back to my first author conundrum. Titles, believe it or not, can cause us great angst. We know our books will never stand the test of time--hell, will barely last a handful of years, if that, in people's minds--but we still agonize over titles.

Here's what I mean. Say you're a writer (maybe you are) and a great title comes into your mind before the actual book is written. So, do you write the story around it or just write the story and change the title if you must? Another scenario: What if you love a title because it's tres appropriate, not to mention clever, but, because of its length, it will only appear in a small font on the book's cover...and will squeeze your name into smallness, too? Or what do you do if you think readers won't "get it"? Do you opt for short, generic and cutsie?

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