I always find it a problem to come up with appropriate and relevant titles for my work. My imagination stalls when called upon to produce something pithy, apposite and meaningful. Some writers I know can’t put pen to paper or finger to keyboard without having first decided on the title. Personally, if it were possible to have a profusion of computer files and folders all labelled ‘Working Title’, I’d be there. Sensibly, this is no way to operate, so I’ve been thinking about where we can find inspiration when we’re stuck.
We can link the title to a scene in the story, the historical period it’s set in or that mysterious discovery the whole plot hinges on. The message of the story, the mood or the scenery can all be reflected in the title.
If you want to succeed as a writer, you have to read. All the advice from the experts is the same: Read. Make time for it; enjoy it; learn from it.
Discovering a new author is thrilling; I have to read their entire back catalogue as soon as possible. The excitement I get from reading a truly great book is, funnily enough, beyond words. It’s one of the most satisfying things I know. I couldn’t put it better than Holden Caulfield, J D Salinger’s protagonist in ‘Catcher in the Rye.’
‘What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
Obviously, I’m endeavouring to be that special author, but simultaneously I’m a devoted reader and it all takes time, which I never have quite enough of. I wish there were 26 hours in a day and 8 days in a week. I wish I was independently wealthy and didn’t need to go to work – it seriously impedes my writerly progress.