Friday, 28 October 2011

Being an Author: Talking Titles

So just how important is the title of a novel or short story? The answer is simple. Very.

When you're trying to sell your novel, tout your short or pass on your poem, you need something that stands out - something memorable. I received a compliment over one of my titles recently (Alice in Monsterland) by the author and editor (etc) bundle of awesomeness that is Chris Bartholomew. That's what led me here.

Some of you are going to outright say that titles aren't that important - it is after all the content of the story that sells it - but long term, you want - no, need - your readers to remember.

And by remember I don't mean: I loved that story by Fred Horroribus, you know the one, that really creepy one where the vampire hamsters discard their rocket launchers for thermonuclear warheads.

I mean: I loved the Fred Horroribus story - Vamphams Bring the Big Boys!

So what do we need to put into this title of pure hamster brought awesomeness? Well, lets look at some titles and see if we can't see the pattern.


Frankenstein.

Okay I hear you shouting... calm down. Everybody knows what Frankenstein is about.

But think about this... when it first went for publication, when the public first picked it up... what did it mean? Nothing. What was Frankenstein? It's creepy to say, rolls off the tongue and leaves you wondering.

Is it a top title? Yes.

So what about...

The Rats/Rats/Piranha/Alien... Hamster

The concept of naming the title of your story/whatever after a direct reference of a feasible and nameable antagonist is tricky. To do, or not to do?

The plus: yeah, I'm going to rock the world by reading about a *maguffin* and that's going to be awesome. 
The minus: Yeah, I know what this story has in for me.

It gives a good plus and minus. If I read a story called Killer Hamsters I know what I'm getting. Surely in the forefront of the reader's mind is that they want to read what they want to read.

So is it a top title? Yes.

-All You Zombies-

You can see this referenced here. If you haven't heard of this, -All You Zombies- is a story about time travel. It has roused infamy for two things. First, it's an outstanding (if not complicated) short about time travel. Second, the title has no bearing on the content whatsoever, apart from a passing comment in the last paragraph.

Why? (Don't ask me).

I can't say much, so is it a top title? I don't know. But hey, I've gotten to know it just because of the title... so... yeah I suppose.

So the bad titles?

I'm not going to point fingers. The short answer really, is jsut to say that a bad title can be one of two things:

  • Non-sensical

Titles that literally mean nothing, at least, not in their native language. Lord of the Rings for example (Good title) could have been published with an Elven title. Wouldn't really help the reader, now, would it?

  • Misleading 

My Story for Fives and Under: Fluffiest Bunnies. This should not have bunny stew in it. Do you get me?

Anyways, I've vented...

'Til next time...

An Acceptance: Coffee House Fiction III

Yeah, it's getting an annual habit of mine.


Can Boxes Solve All Problems? features in this upcoming anthology - but I'm afraid that you'll have to wait a while... end of 12.

Mark 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Halloween Movies for all the Family

Well, out of the norm, and giving you plenty of time to pick them up off Amazon, I thought I'd share my recommendations for your Halloween Movie Night. A bit of something for everyone methinks!

For the whole family:

A hard one for sure, and most people feel differently about both, so we have:


Personally, I prefer The Monster Squad, but if you've got a couple of lil ones running about both will serve well. Honestly, in my formative youth, The Goonies scared the crap out of me (Yeah I know), but I think The Monster Squad is cooler.

I won't recommend either - particularly if the young people are only just old enough to talk. If that's case, then perhaps Thomas the Tank Engine's Christmas DVD?

A Night in with The Gang:

(Yes, I used gang because I couldn't be bothered to specify boys or girls). Okay, well, what would I watch? Look, if you've got a load of people around and the beer's a' flowin', then you want something fun, right? It's got to be fast moving and gory? How about this:

I know that Aliens is an obvious choice, but you haven't seen it for a couple of years right? Well, it's time to dig it out again.

As for Dog Soldiers, I don't know how well you know it. If you haven't seen it, go, go now and watch it. Trust me. I'm an author. Seriously. I hear your harks. Yeah, if you haven't seen Dog Soldiers, it's a fantastic flick, worthy of any gory night in...

The Light of Dark...

I know that some people don't want to see the dead of man rising and that malarky. Just a chill... a feeling of horror without the bite... Hm. That's a bit tougher.

Okay then, how about this:




I know that Paranormal Activity is a sequel. I know. But if you haven't seen the first one, remember, it's actually a prequel. Either way, it's not as scary as the first, and it does well as a chiller.

Right At your Door, never heard of it? Shame on you! A cool little film with an ending that will leave you shocked. Honestly. I can't recommend it enough.

The Daring and Downright Discusting: 

Obviously:

Yes, Bad Taste is old school Aussie gore and Inside is new wave French horror, but they both pack the punch.

True, Bad Taste is funny, and equally revolting, but it is directed and starring Peter Jackson (yes, that one).

Don't be put off by the fact that Inside has subtitles, the spoken words are few and far between, and it's chilling... to the bone.


So, I reckon that's it. If you want a challenge, why not watch them all...

'Till next time...

Mark

Monday, 3 October 2011

Now Available


Two awesome little numbers are available to buy:



And













Buy! Many starving authors died to get you these books.

Nah... just joking... but BUY THEM!

Mark