Archive for July 9th, 2008

The Importance of Titles

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Finally, I have entered the world of blogging. Here it is – my first ever bouncing baby blog post. It seems appropriate, somehow, that this one be self-referential.

One of the most common complaints I hear from the writers that I work with is how hard it is to title their work. I understand their frustration – I struggle with the issue as much as the next writer, but I also know that titles are crucial. They are signposts and framing devices, the first thing that the reader actually reads (assuming they do not skip them altogether, which is surprisingly common). Titles can give a taste of what is to come: create atmosphere, foreshadow, or even, sometimes, ruin the surprise of a piece of work (Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff anyone?)

Over at the Virginia Quarterly Blog, Waldo Jaquith has done everyone a great service by compiling the most common titles from the slush pile of material submitted to the magazine. Some titles from the 2007 list also appear on the 2008 one. **Sound of writers rushing to their computers to retitle anything currently called “Waiting” or “Grace.”** Incidentally, Grace is now the number one girls baby name in the UK. Coinky-dink? What do you think?

Accordingly, I did give some thought to the title of my blog. Boolah. A portmanteau of “moolah,” slang for money and the name of my incorporated company (I figured if I called the company that I might actually make some it) and “books,” which will be one of my primary concerns here: good books, bad books, book related posts of all kinds.

Boolah also means “an expression that conveys excitement” according to the Urban Dictionary, which I didn’t know until I had chosen it as a title, but which makes it especially germane. I’m feeling excited about my blog. Boolah!