Category Archives: Creative Writing 101

Finding That (kind of) Perfect Title

So, NO REST FOR THE WICKED is not a unique title. It was just, “I like it. It’s a great fit. I’m going with it. I’m done.” Some other titles I considered are “Legion” – the working title and “Taker of Lives” – which I really liked for about two minutes.

I know. I’m a title genius. 😬

Sometimes coming up with the title is the hardest part of the writing process!! I have a story in the queue titled “Whisper.” My original working title was “The Shades of my Shadow.” That title was insulted. I didn’t think it was all that bad, and it was just placeholder title, but I did come up with something else whilst brainstorming one day.

The recently buried “Discord” went through a few titles. In Pitch Wars 2014, both of the mentors who gave me feedback were like, “This clashes with the beautiful writing.” Firstly, thanks for saying my writing is beautiful. Secondly, that’s the whole point. “Discord” is about a siren. She has problems. Get it? I thought it was brilliant. (I also had an agent fuss about my title, but by then I was just like, “ENOUGH ALREADY! GAHHH!”) The working title for this story was “The Fury.” Because, well, there’s a fury in the story. If you don’t know what a fury is, they’re like Greek demi-goddesses of revenge. Very cool entities. Totally under-utilized in the story. But that’s a post for another time.

When it came time to edit “The Fury,” I changed the title to “Lullaby” because, siren. I didn’t love it, and my brain wouldn’t work, obviously. So, I finally do a book search for the title, and not only do I find another book with that title, it was a book about a siren!! Totally different from my book, and it was book two in a quadrilogy, but OMG, no. Thus, I searched for something that was similar that would also better sum up the theme of the story. I still think “Discord” is brilliant.

The working title for “The Puppet Box” was “Hall of Mirrors.” Don’t ask. I didn’t have all the pieces together back then, and the hall of mirrors had and still has nothing to do with the plot. In the story, “Sorority & Fraternity Row” are hosting a charity carnival. It’s food and rides and shops. No hall of mirrors. But gotta call the story something, right? Then I flirted with calling it “The Puppet Master,” because there is a weirdo who calls himself that in the story. He’s cute, but he’s irritating. So, I Google that and a series of cheesy horror movies from the 80s pop up. Perfect. Mention that in the story. So, finally, I look at the story and think, “what is this thing about?” It’s about the puppet theater. So I’m calling it “The Puppet Box.” And the simplest title is one of the best titles in my portfolio. Haha.

To drum up titles, I ask myself what the story is about – I think about themes, location, time of year, plot – and literally jot down a bunch of crap until I see a word I like. Like when I was brainstorming NO REST FOR THE WICKED, I wrote down “wicked” and “restless” and decided those MUST be in the title. The character has sleep issues. She’s not the best person in the world. Get it? See why it’s perfect. ^_^

I have a story in the queue titled “Blackbird Manor.” The original title was “Blood Manor.” That kind of wigged me out, actually. Fitting but shiver. There’s a guy in the story who is called Sir Blackbird. Yes, it’s ridiculous. But it works. Another story in the queue is “Once There Was Chaos.” I was just playing around, but I loved it, so now it’s a title. Titles can sometimes happen by accident.

The working title for “Winter’s Siren” was “Songbird.” I know, right? Again, placeholder title. I can’t call stuff, “untitled #15” because then I’d never find it. I retitled a story once, forgot I had retitled it, and honestly thought I had deleted the story for months. So even after I pick the title, I’ll call the document “Songbird (Winter’s Siren)” until I’m in the editing phase. This way I can keep track of it. I thought about calling “Winter’s Siren” “Stolen Songbird,” but that is literally the title of a book On my TBR. I think it’s about trolls. I was also thinking about calling it “Frozen Songbird,” but that is kind of not great, so I’m using that for the opera being performed in the story. It was close to what I wanted though, so I decided to drum up something similar to that but stronger for the actual title. “Winter’s Siren.” I know, right. 😛

There’s no pressure to come up with an actual title until I’m done editing, but I often find something early. ^_^

In random news, I was on local radio over the weekend. I’m not great at thinking on my feet, but I actually really enjoyed it, and I think it went okay. It’s not a bookish show – it’s an inspirational kind of show. I didn’t contact them to get on. I work Mom & Pop retail. You get to know regulars sometimes. One such regular was like, “Oh, you should come on our radio show. We want to have some authors on this month – can you do this Sunday?” This happened last Tuesday night. And I was like, “…I guess…” I spent the weekend doing laundry and watching “The Hobbit” movies – just FYI, so I had time. Haha. Technically, Tuesday to Sunday is not considered a violation to my extreme lack of spontaneity, but since it put me way out of my comfort zone, it was borderline. But why not do it, right? Maybe someone picked up a notebook afterwards. ^_^

YouTube Video of the Week 😛

Brick Walls & Writer’s Blockage

Mileage varies on what it takes to get a story from conception to the end. Some people need to plot for weeks and weeks and others can start running right out of the gate. Some people, like myself, are consistently inconsistent, but it largely takes me a year or two to have something ready to… Continue Reading

“Find Your Teeth and Bite”: 2016 Conference Highlights

Welcome to highlights from the Fourth Annual Fall Creative Writing Conference, sponsored by MTSU Write. This year, the conference, held the second Saturday of September, was under new management and we got BAGS!! And a mug. Very exciting. 😊 In addition to that, I got to take home the gorgeous bouquet of sunflowers and other gorgeous foliage on… Continue Reading

New Adventures in QueryTracker Land

So, I’ve had an account on for about 4 years now, and they have two account options: free membership and premium membership for $25 a year. Last year, they did a bit of remodeling. Things were updated and moved around. Templates were changed. Anywho, I had a premium account for a couple of years because I’m… Continue Reading