Do Story Titles Matter?

Ooh, Line of Duty’s Steve has got a furry face. And a frown.

Good evening, Happy Mother’s Day (to ALL the ladies) and hopefully you’ve remembered to put your clocks forward.

Remember last time I mentioned ‘750words’?

Amazingly, I have completed my 750 words (which only takes me 11 minutes! I am a speedy typist) every day since then – that’s 8 consecutive days – and I’ve earned a turkey (or something like that) and a penguin badge. I’ll give you a proper update when I get to the end of the month’s trial!

The new series of Line of Duty starts tonight. Hurrah. That’s made me very happy because that’s one TV programme that I cannot miss.

Now, I still can’t mention my judging/reading role in the Evesham Festival of Words’ short story competition, as the longlist hasn’t even been announced yet but another competition has recently announced its results and I am at liberty to talk about that!

The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook short story competition, which attracted around 1,000 entries (eek!) has announced its winner and 2 runners-up and the winning story ‘How To Draw A Boy’ by Lamorna Peoples, is on the website.

Not only is it a really original story but it has a great title too, a title that draws you in (no pun intended!). And that’s something (I think I’m allowed to say this!) that I noticed about the stories I was judging for Evesham: most of them had pretty dull titles. Most consisted of just one or two words and it was clear that little thought had gone into them.

Does it really matter? Isn’t it all about the story? Well, a good title could be the thing that gives your story one or two points more than another in a competition. It could make the difference between being short- or longlisted, or not making the cut. So it’s worth spending a little time, thinking of a good title.

You can read the winning story here. I think it’s stunning. I’m not surprised it won. But tell me what you think!

This entry was posted in Competitions, Short Stories, Television. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Do Story Titles Matter?

  1. ellem63 says:

    O.M.G. I’ve just read the winning story – stunning indeed! It made me want to cry. I won’t put any spoilers for others who want to read it. Amazing writing!

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Yes, indeed. Had the same effect on me. An emotional response, that’s what a short story should leave you with. And that one has it, in bucket-loads!

  2. Bea Charles says:

    What a brilliant title, and what a brilliant story that followed. Of course you do need the second to follow the first, but yes a good title definitely does something more than just identify the piece. Like you, I’ve just finished judging a writing competition (not so grand as yours) and was disappointed that so many titles just repeated the theme rather than shouting out their individuality.

    • Thanks for your comment, Bea. I think a lot of people don’t realise the importance of the title! (whether it’s a short story, or a novel or poetry). In the class that I teach, when students read something out that they’ve written for homework, they often don’t give the piece a title and I always ask ‘What’s the title?’ to try to make them think about it for next time!

  3. Keith Havers says:

    That is a thought-provoking story.
    People’s Friend nearly always change my story title so I must be useless at it.

    • Aw, I’m sure you’re not useless, Keith! They usually change mine too – I think most magazines do. I think it depends on lots of things. Could just be that they have another story in that issue that has a similar title to yours. It doesn’t really bother me. I don’t worry too much about titles for womag stories but if it’s for a competition, I do try to come up with something ‘good’.

  4. Eirin Thompson says:

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your Writer of the Week interview with Lucy Crichton at The People’s Friend. I’ve been reading your stories and blog for well over a year, now, and I have to say you seem to be one of the nicest people in the business. Not a pushover, though, when it comes to standing up for a fellow-writer – I also admired your stance among the comments on the winner of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook short story competition. All good wishes for your success in the writing year ahead, including financial rewards, since we’re entering a new tax year! Eirin Thompson

    • Thanks, Eirin – what a lovely message. Yes, I can’t stand it when people who haven’t won a competition, feel it’s their right to nit-pick and make stupid comments about a winning entry. Petty and jealous, is what I think! I notice that you were PF ‘Writer of the Week’ too, last year. I loved your tip about writing for that one person who ‘gets’ you – who thinks you are clever and funny. Great tip!

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