The Glass Menagerie of Titles?
Sue, Heather, Loranne and I were kidding around (it’s what we do) about titles the other day, and I joked that once you have the title for a piece of flash, you’re halfway there. Especially if it’s a very long title.
Since reading Michael Martone’s chapter on titles in The Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, I’ve been thinking a lot about them. Martone has a fun take on titles, which I hope not to misquote, since my copy of the book is at home on my table.
The most intriguing point he makes is that titles are not glass windows for looking into the story, describing the story in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get way. This made me think of looking at the story through different sorts of glass: tinted glass, distorted glass, or reflected in a mirror. A different view that adds something to our understanding or experience.
I’ve gone back and changed most of my titles, some of them several times. I’ve found that people have stronger reactions to them. The reactions are not always positive, but that’s okay. I’m learning and having fun with them. And maybe, for now, that’s better than (as my teenaged daughter would say), “Meh. Nice title.”
Martone has lots more to say, as well as some fun exercises. I highly recommend the book.