The Story Tittle Matters
The title does so much of the initial work of the story. Not only does it establish the tone, it provides the reader with subliminal clues, such as the setting, the plot’s main conundrum, etc. I’ve always known my titles encapsulate the meaning of the story—if you didn’t get the title, I haven’t written the story well...
We slowly roll from the platform, green metal tankers absorb
the golden sun.
Where does the red in the light come from?
Why does the end of the day bring
The buttery light loves the
the grey stained concrete, and
slicks against the surface close as morning
The broken windows of the Good Samaritan Center
I’d been working on the short story for years. An early version was workshopped in Richard Bausch’s Moss Group. Later, the story received an Honorable Mention in the Memphis Magazine Short Fiction Contest. But I’d never successfully placed the story for publication anywhere. That’s because it wasn’t right.
“Ain’t No Commies ‘Round Here,”...
In filing new query letters for my short story collection, I came across an old document. The year was 2007. The list identified agents who asked for stories or the entire manuscript. There were many. I chose one.
The agent I picked was not good for me.
I piddled around with him for four years, only to ultimately part ways, my fiction unsold.
As irrefutable proof of my ingrained belief that the problem must be mine, I retained the title, description, and target audience given to me by a former agent whom an editor said was not marketing my novel correctly. That period is over.
Old Title: Trouble at Big Daddy’s Chicken Palace Emporium
New title: Don Chickote: Or the Strange Adventures...
When I was three years old, my daddy died. That’s quite a sad thing to happen, losing one’s father at such a young age, particularly when he was so young himself. Worse, he died suddenly, violently. His car was hit by a train, at a crossing that had a red light, but no warning arm to descend protectively across the track. He likely didn’t see...