22. What's the Title?
Always give your work a title. Even if you think it sucks. Even if it’s essentially a place holder for a better one. Even if you’re just turning in a first draft to a workshop. Even if—as will almost certainly be the case should the piece be accepted by a commercial magazine, a newspaper, or a website with SEO (search engine optimization) concerns—your editor gives it an entirely different headline to suit the publication’s specific, and legitimate, needs.
The right title signals to the reader that you know what this story is about. In fact, pausing during the writing process to contemplate a title can be a good way to find that out for yourself (not to mention simply a nice break from the writing process).
Readers see the title, then read the story, and then—almost always, I believe, whether they’re consciously aware of it or not—go back to the start and revisit the title, at which point it acquires deeper resonance thanks to the story. As does the story, thanks to the title.
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