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The title sets the tone

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Oct 17, 2016 5:43:58 AM

Writing a novel comes easier to me when I know the title of the book I'm writing. I can't explain it, but once I have the title ensconced in the creative centers of my brain, I tend to find the "zone" effortlessly. When a title hasn't taken root yet, I'm more prone to meander and get distracted, making for a far from satisfying writing session.


For me, the title reflects the tone of the book, and for me, tone is a big part of finding comfort with a story. It establishes the emotional baseline of the book, and that is key for developing character and defining the rhythm of a story.


Jaws by Peter Benchley is a perfect example of how a title reflects the tone of a novel. You know by the title that fear is the emotional baseline of the story. The word "jaws' alone is enough to inform the reader that something sinister may be afoot. You don't need to see the cover. You don't even need to know that the book is about a giant shark. The title hints at a terror-infused story.


Now, I have no idea if Benchley came up with the title first or if it came at some other point during the writing process, but based on my experience as a writer, as soon as the title is chosen, it influences the writing choices thereafter. Whether it's the first draft or rewrites. I would be surprised if the title Jaws didn't affect the tone of Benchley's book once it was established.


What is your process? Does the title come before you write, or does it come after you start writing?


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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