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Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel Revised and Expanded Edition, 2nd Edition by Sara Paretsky, Hallie Ephron

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Chapter 10

Picking a Title

“I start with a title. I use that as a springboard, then plunge into those dark, forbidding waters. The title keeps me focused throughout.”

—Evan McBain (a.k.a. Evan Hunter)

Picking a title for your novel is more of an art than a science. Of course, you don’t need a title to start writing, but just like typing THE END at the end of a completed draft, there’s something therapeutic about typing a title at the beginning—if only to show yourself that you’re officially off and writing.

Most writers consider the title they pick at this stage to be a working title, subject to change. Sometimes the book you start writing gets transformed by the time you get to the end, and you need a different title. Later, your publisher or ...

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