The Mad Author
Jean Tennant


Posted Friday, April 29, 2011, at 10:22 AM
View 9 comments
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  • Hi Jean, I really enjoyed this article and have learned so much from your blogs. Keep up the good work!

    -- Posted by OR.girl on Fri, Apr 29, 2011, at 11:39 AM
  • When I am writing my short story collection, I start out by using the main character's name as the title. It's easier in my case because I'm retelling the stories of historical characters. However, I take an Italian saint named Maria Giovanna Bonomo, make her a 21st century single American mom and call her Jovi Bono. Then the title of my file is Jovi. This turned into my play, "The Feast of Jovi Bono."

    When I did Genoveva Torres Morales, I called her Torry Morales. For a long time the story was called Torry, until I came up with its brilliant title, "The First Thing He Noticed Was Her Legs." (Not bad for a story about a double amputee dance teacher -- do you agree?)

    My play about St. Clare of Assissi is now (I think) called "Clarity." I have not looked to see if there is another play called "Clarity," but I hope there's not another St. Clare play called "Clarity."

    Even with my books. My novel was called Henny's Journey for a long time until it became "The Swedish Lie." My first book was "Elusive Butterfly," and I was completely unfamiliar with the Bob Seger song until it was too late! But I called it EB most of the time.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Fri, Apr 29, 2011, at 4:11 PM
  • P.S. I'm thinking of reworking and reissuing Elusive Butterfly for Kindle, e-book and other new-format reading, and if I do, I think I will simply call it EB and see if it catches on. :-)

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Fri, Apr 29, 2011, at 4:13 PM
  • I've tried doing just that - using the main character's name as a "working title." It didn't work for me. And many authors do, I know, using working titles until they come up with something else that they like. It might make life easier for me if I could do that.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Sat, Apr 30, 2011, at 10:58 AM
  • I'm in the process of putting all of Shapato's books on Kindle and the many other e-book readers. The formatting is tricky, but I finally got the hang of it.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Sat, Apr 30, 2011, at 10:59 AM
  • The title is more difficult than naming a baby.

    I'm now re-naming the "baby."

    Jean, keep the BLOGS coming. I look forward to each one.

    -- Posted by wordgardener on Sat, Apr 30, 2011, at 4:06 PM
  • I have several titles saved that i hope to use someday. I started an Ideas File like you said and put them in there. Is it unusual to have the title before you even have a story?

    -- Posted by ggilmore on Thu, May 5, 2011, at 7:14 AM
  • ggilmore - Many times over the years I've heard a phrase or bit of dialog that I thought would make a good book title. Like you, I put them away in my Ideas File. So, no, it's not unusual, and when you're looking for that next project to start, you'll have some great titles to choose from.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Thu, May 5, 2011, at 11:24 PM
  • I recently received my bulletin from the Iowa Poetry Association. Lucille Morgan Wilson wrote on the topic of titles as well. She commented that a commonplace title is better than none, but sugggested that rather than using the title "Spring," titles such as "My Fortieth Spring" or "Spring's Dark Song" would draw the reader into the piece more readily. I have been known to reach out to friends who will help me with titles. Sometimes they will see things that slipped by me.

    -- Posted by Betty Taylor on Tue, May 10, 2011, at 12:19 AM
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