Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Exercise: Cliche Titles

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

A working title helps me write.
When I was a kid in grade school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. It was the Fifth Grade, in Mrs. Ploen’s class, that I first started writing creatively and recieving praise for doing so. That was the same year that my older brother got tired of telling me about the science-fiction books he was reading and shoved Ringworld into my hands to read for myself. It was, as you might imagine, a pivotal year.
I still go back to the method of writing that I learned that year. Our teacher would write a title on the board for us and demand a story. I’m sure there were minimum requirements in pages or words or both, though they escape me now. That was our only constraint, however, that title. We could make our story into anything we wanted, as long as it had something to do with the title we’d been given. I managed to take “My Adventure At The Circus” and turn out a fantasy piece about a boy going to an underground kingdom of dwarves where he became the fated saviour of their entire way of life. Not bad for a kid in the Fifth Grade. Heck, there was even a recognizable plot. That’s more than I can say for some of my later work, frankly.
I still go back to that technique because it’s usefull for getting me started. These days, I may change the title when I’m done, but using that kind of working title gets me started, which is often the hardest thing in the world for me. This is a method that can work for you, as well. You can come up with a title in many different ways. You can use my very own Story Starter, or you can simply use a cliche. (Here’s one list of Cliches and Weak Phrases by Jessica Page Morrell to get you started, if you need help.) So, pick a cliched working title and then start to write a story. If nothing else, it will get you started writing something, which is the only way to produce anything. If you’re lucky, it will give you a story that can be worked into something for sale. Just don’t forget to change the cliched title to something that works better before you send it off!

So, what are you waiting for? Get writing!

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