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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Titling Your Story

Give Your Novel a Memorable, Inspired Title

Steve Almond

It happens every semester that I teach fiction, usually on the day we distribute stories for the first workshop. A student will raise her hand and offer the following caveat: “So I just wanted to, like, apologize for my story not having a title. I totally hate titles.”

To which her classmates will inevitably respond with a chorus of amens about how much they, like, hate titles, too! To which I’ll respond with a roar of anguished disbelief: “Are you kidding me? Guys, titles are the coolest part of the whole process! They’re like the cherry on top of the sundae! They’re the sign over the gate! A story without a title is like a doll without a head!” This statement hangs ...

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