Purple? It’s not Purple!

The common response to a subtle suggestion that the writer may have added a little too much purple to their prose seems to elicit that response. It’s shock, I suppose, that someone could see their words as other than deep and meaningful, as a play of beauty in the deep sea of banal.

There, you see, is the problem. We love to ‘hear’ our own voices, and to put a bit of ‘magic’ in there by using words that make the story disappear under the crashing waves of words that don’t move the story forward.

That’s what purple means when referring to prose. Want an example? I’ll even highlight all the bits that I consider unnecessary, and therefore, purplish.

Blood drizzled down her hand, along the blade of the knife, dripped onto the ground. It turned from crimson to black as it seeped into the dark earth. The long shadows of dawn were beginning to fade into full day. Rose looked around at the ground, felt with her feet, listened for the right sound. She found what she was looking for.

“Blood to blood, earth to earth,” Rose whispered, as she stabbed the knife into the sharp sand. She pulled it out to check, stabbed again and again until the blade shone clean in the light of the torch. She slipped the knife into the leather sheath and shoved it down the front of her jeans.

“That’s for Lily,” Rose said aloud. “For what you did to kids like her. May your soul rot in hell for eternity.”

The leaves of the huge ghost gums whispered; branches and twigs rattled and tattled as the high wind above slowly settled. The breeze slid down the deep ravine, through the dry creek bed full of rocks and sticks, to the paddock she stood in. The cool spring squall whisked away the smell of tannin, of copper, of death.

One more down. One more off the list. One step closer to the end. What was his number? Her count should be minus one for the first kill, because that wasn’t really hers. However, she had disposed of the remains; she had taken control of the list; she had killed all but the first; and now the count belonged to her.

Copyright Cage Dunn 2016 – used with permission.

Do you see it? The red is cliche, so if you start your story with cliche, you’ve already turned off most readers. Describing things that don’t do anything for the story are purple. For the first page of a story, there’s a lot of purple in this example. Not as much as some, but it’s definitely too much – it would be too much for a whole scene or chapter.

The green – that’s the good/better bit. Why? Because that’s the hook, that’s what will draw a reader into the story. So why isn’t it closer to the beginning? I suppose it is at least on the first page, but to get the reader to continue, give them that bit of intrigue as close to the start as possible. Within the first two paras should do it. Catch the eye, catch the heart – at the start.

The lesson – if you want to give us a story, give us the story without the things that don’t do anything. If you want to be Tolkien, get a professorship first.

And that’s the Sunday rant for the infusion of sanity to the story-telling role.









Moving and Shaking

How to move the story along? How to create tension and pace?

It’s a simple answer, but not easy to do.

It’s in the structure, and how you place your scenes – and what you put in them, and why and where the action happens.

The simple process is to start the story with a defined structure.

Now, a word of warning is required here: We are a group of people, all with our own ideas, our own ways of doing things, and some very strong opinions – but on this we all agree. A structure is required before the story goes beyond the log-line (can be called by other names, but a one or two sentence blurb that says what ‘it’ is).

Now, this multiple-personality group has decided to let you in on the secret.

The structure, and how to do it. Yes, we’ve mentioned it before, but you need to know.

Once you have the title, the idea has morphed into a fresh and dazzling concept, and a character has slipped into life to play a particular role – then it’s time to ‘create’ the path, the journey, the story of life for that log-line. Because nothing is nothing ’til it comes up as something.

What we have learned to do (yes, all of us) is to place a word or two, even a short sentence, at the most crucial places in the structure. What are these things? The main plot points. So, whether it’s an incline for Aristotle, or a Chain of Events, or a Beat Sheet, or an Outline, or a Story Board, or a Snow-Flake (no idea what that is) or any of the other methodologies for structuring a story, this is what we do.

At the opening of the story (let’s call it Opening, shall we), write a word of sentence that says where we (the story people) are, and what we (the writer) want the reader to see.

Logline: 3 boys find a recipe for a lozenge/lolly – supposed to make them smart – but they stole the only copy from the guy who paid $1m for it (it’s now lost – and they made amendments to the original due to lack of ingredients) – and he not only wants it back, he wants payback for the camel snot they left him covered in.
Okay, this could do with some extra work, but it’s a start.

1) Where to Open: three kids, summer, helping out with the camels at Goolwa Beach.
See: Boys help unload the camels from the trucks ready for the tourists first trip along the beach. The boys help out, always together at this time of year, rush through their tasks so they can go and do some good stuff – like fart competitions or scaring the girls, or . . .

2) Plot Point 1: MC (main character) decides to make the recipe to see what happens.

3) Mid Point: Twit (baddy) offers truce if they return the recipe. But it’s gone! The smarts have worn off – limited in scope! And now they don’t remember it! Or the extra/replacement ingredients! Can’t comply with the request – make it up? Would he know? Yes.

4) Plot Point 2: the girls they tease sneak in to see the boys. They found the recipe [all torn up, pieces missing], got some help to make it up, made some lollies – not as many as the boys, but . . . enough to maybe get them out of trouble and fix the baddy. Maybe.

5) The End: playing up to the girls in bikinis as they all help the touros with the camels. Dad gives them a bonus – tickets to the movies [from the cook] with free SLIME! Yuk! (This can be called denouement.)

That’s five pieces to start with. Only five. Not much to ask. Can you see the way it’s going to go? Is it cliche? Yes, to both. But it will serve as a guide. Remember that. A guide, because that’s all these methodologies are: a way to see through the cliche, the banal, the boring and to find the fresh and new and bright story that everyone will want to read.

Moving on.

After you fill out those five points, what comes next. Well you could do a sentence for each scene that leads from each of the above to the next … or this:

a) Act 1: put in all the bits between the Open and the PP1 (Plot Point 1) because that is all of Act 1, as follows:

Theme: Smart guys don’t have to work hard for the money (or maybe something more appropriate to the genre – like …. don’t have an answer yet!). See, can even write notes to self.
Set-up: “How are we going to earn extra money for the hols stuff? Girls?”
“What’ve girls got to do with it?”
Tips from tourists almost non-existent this year – not enough visitors – Dad won’t give them extra ‘cos times are tough and the farm is struggling since [find a good reason for this].
Catalyst: The stupid twit who belted the camel with the metal case, then kicked boy 2 on the side of his head. Bruised, painful. The case got dragged to the ground as the twit falls off. No one helps him. The cook walks away, shaking his head, pocketing the cheque. Boy 1 pulls the camel around into the best position and tickles his nostril – the sneeze – the snot: big, heavy, slimy, snot. “Try to flick that off, Slick.” Swaggers away with the camel. The case falls open. Boy 3 puts it back together, but the envelope is under his shoe and after the twit is gone and he moves off, Boy 1 notices it and they pick it up – about to run after the twit. Who stops him and why?
Debate: What’s in the env? Not money, a recipe. Candy-man (boy 2) reads through it, chuckles. A lolly, a recipe for a lolly – and a receipt for $1m paid for the exclusive rights to production. Should they try to make it? be the first to try it? Says it makes you smart – but Candy-man is already smart enough. Try it on the girls! Yes, great idea – if it stinks or . . . Better them than us. And if it’s okay, if nothing bad happens, then we get the rest of it!

Does that sound interesting? Does it tell you the flow of story in the first act? Sure, there are things that need fixing, things that need to be worked on, things that need to be researched, but it’s all there, ready to go.

What does this have to do with tension and pace? Knowing where you’re going will tell you – the story will dictate – which pieces to write at what location and why; you’ll see where you need to do short, sharp scenes and sentences; you’ll see where to slow it down to give a good understanding of how to breathe the scenes, get to know the story and characters.

Now for Act 2 (part 1 – which is from the end of PP1 to the MP (MidPoint)):

b) Act 2(1): put in all the bits between the PP1 to the MP.
B Story: Dad argues with twit about incident. Shows twit the signed paper of [what is it you sign when it’s risky and you know it, but you do it anyway?]
Fun n Games: Next morning, sick. Toilet stops galore, furps and barts worse than the camels – people laugh at them, poo-poo poses, etc. And then their brains wake up – and wake up big-time.
[these are the big ticket scenes to play with – and you only have to look at Kung Fu Panda or Harry Potter (the first one) to see how much you can put in there – just remember, this is the stage where the MC is learning stuff, so what you put here is what gets used in Act 2(part2).]
Run rings around twit. Drop envelope (deliberately) on the beach; recipe not inside – try on innocence. People believe the boys, not the twit.
Pinch Point 1: The papers served on Dad.
[what’s a Pinch Point? Basically, it’s meet the baddy.]

Are you getting the picture? Want to try it out on your own story? Using your own methodology? You can – and should – do that, but always remember the main points, what goes in them, and why. These are the ways to pace a story, to create interest and tension and flow and intrigue. It’s fun. Enjoy it.

Then come back to the reasons you’re doing it in the first place. Story. I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of planning, but this is only the first step, not the whole story, and if you can see your way to do these things before you start writing, it’s so much easier to see where things can improve; it’s easier to see where you can create more power and movement; it’s easier to drop an idea before you put sweat and tears into it. And the next step will be, no – not easier, but more defined, clarified, purposeful. The story part. All those methodologies are all spouting the same things, but written in different ways – because we’re not all the same! Find the way that works for you and save yourself a lot of heartache when you get to a certain point and panic because you don’t know where the path goes.

You can do Act 2(part 2) and Act 3 on your own, but remember, everything you set up in Act 1 gets paid off in Act 3, so if you Act 1 is 10,000 words, then so is the Act 3.

the End – for the moment.





The End …

The stick-figure who was once a man, who used to toss not-so-little kids up in the air and then catch them as they screamed, who once refereed football games without getting up much of a sweat – he’s slipping away.

We all go there. We all know that. But this descent is awful. The person he was is still in there somewhere, but can’t be seen, can’t get out. It’s in the eyes. Once deep and dark, now filmy and grey.

We all die. It’s a given. Once born, there is only one path to follow, only one end. The end.

Is it better to hang on and give family and friends the time to say goodbye? Or is it better to go quickly, while the chance exists for people to remember a good-looking, alive, person? Is it worth the pain and discomfort, the heartbreak and looks of pity and horror, and sometimes disgust, as the body fades into crackly skin and bone?

Death is not a nice thing to watch. But we watch. We sit with him until the final moments, we want to hear if any last words might be said, we can’t bear to leave him alone on his final journey.

Nor should he be left on his own. What if he’s scared and can’t tell us that? What if he’s scared there’ll be none of what he’s believed in his whole life? What if …?

We can’t help, not him, not each other. Each one of us will go through the process in a different way. Some will want to talk about it, some won’t. Some will want closeness and hugs and being surrounded, some will melt into a corner to be alone with it. Some will be forced into a foray they must comply with, rather than the one they want or need.

Until it’s over, we wait, we watch, we stand guard. We don’t know why, nor do we care. It’s what we do for someone who gave us life, who gave us joy and determination and justice. We wait for the end, and see in it a relief of the constant, harrowing pain and distress. We see the silence as distance, feel the letting go as the muscles relax, sense the departure.

But we don’t let go. Not immediately.

The ritual of placing the remnants of a person who once had a soul must be followed. Everyone must share in the process of farewells. For without it, we see only the lonely road to the end.



Being a Newbie Author …

And the setbacks created by the following:

No blurb

Basically, no one reads books unless they’ve already been reviewed and recommended (how can they tell if the reviews are paid for v. genuine, etc.?). How does a new author (by author, read novel is written and published [self or traditional])? How does a new author find the people who are willing to read their books? [No, forget traditional – they don’t want to have to deal with new authors – too many on their books already who don’t earn enough.]

The question: How to get a review?

It’s not a silly question. It’s deadly serious. Do you know how many people self-publish books/stories/novels each week? It’s a lot. And I know most of it is going to be unworthy of a read, let alone a review, but … if the people who do ‘reviews’ are only reviewing books that someone else has reviewed or recommended already (whether real or not), what’s the point?

Where are the people who want to read the ‘new’ stuff? Get in on the bottom, help the new writer, discover the next greatest thing? Where are you?

Admittedly, we (our group) may not yet be ready for a review, but when we are – who is out there willing to do what must be done? Who but a reader can do a review? Should the writers (avg annual income [in Aust] of LT $8k) PAY to get someone to say something?

No. It shouldn’t be like that. People who do reviews should look beyond what’s already recommended and become trend-setters, give unique understanding to the ‘new’ idea/concept/theme etc.

But this rabbit has already gone down a hole, hasn’t it? No one wants to read the ‘tail’ end of new writing. No one wants to take a risk on reading the new and fresh and distinct – oh, yes, sorry, forgot that you wrote a book too! So, who’s going to review your book for you when you try to get it out there? And trust me, the traditional publishers are not going to even consider a newbie who hasn’t already come to their attention through ‘other’ avenues (and that doesn’t mean social media).

Try as you might to get a review, until someone else has reviewed you to all their friends, you won’t be getting one. Ever.

Now that Amazon doesn’t allow reviews done for books that don’t have a ‘proven sale’ there’s nowhere left to go, is there? The cheats with their algorithms for fake reviews have destroyed any chance the ordinary new writer ever has for honest reviews. And no reviews = no sales because that’s the way the Amazon/Google/etc. algorithm works, isn’t it?

And that’s the rant for the month of May – because it’s getting colder and the leaves are falling and …

The Story Wall

It was a piece of board, then a whiteboard, then a door, then one side of a wall. Now, it’s the whole room, every wall, every thing that stands solid and still long enough to take the bits of story in the right place.

The Story-Board. It’s there, in pieces, in scatters of lines linked by different colours of wool and string and push-pins and map-pins (different colours, of course, to represent the difference in meaning).

Someone walked in the other day and their mouth fell open so far I had to help them lift it off the floor.

“Get out,” says I. “This is my room.”

“But I was hoping to stay for a while. This was my room.”

“You left. It doesn’t belong to you anymore.”

The story room is plastered with small chalk-boards and whiteboards and butcher’s paper and funny looking drawings and maps, and bits of words scribbled on sticky notes or other things (napkins, etc.) stuck up with blu-tak.

And it’s coming together nicely. The initial flow of story has moved on to a double-edged sword, deeper meanings, more power to the context and theme and motif. I hope.

Anyway, the room that is the story room once had another life, but the one who lived it went away and left the room empty, alone, bereft of intellectual and spiritual company. So the story moved in and took over and the room exploded into colour and song and movement, light shone in the window and glinted against the rows of pencils and pens and screens and markers. The story room came alive with the story.

It’s ready to set up the whole gamut of this new movement, this new journey. Just a few more days and the story-line from the story-room will become real words in real space for real characters who will march through the story that becomes.

Until the story-maker walks into the room and sees the bare walls, the cardboard box filled with junk and tangles and torn pieces of paper.

And the voice that comes up behind her to whisper.

“My room,” with a swagger that she sees in the shadow of the enemy.

What do you think happened?

Of course. One cannot be a sister if one hasn’t had to push for the right to be. The pushing and the shoving and the screaming and yelling and … all that stuff, caused a ruckus in the whole household.

And the result. The room is back to being the story room, the intruder is gone back out to the world she came from, and the final result that came from that:

Even though she had no qualms about destroying the work and reasserting her right to the territory – now lost, the work improved for the disturbance. What was once a really good story-start got mixed up with another piece of the story and became a great piece. Inspiring. Brilliant.

So, thanks, I guess – but don’t come back.




A short story, copyright Rose Brimson 2016

“Take it and run. Grab it. Run. Get away. That tree is Naji; spirit. It’ll kill ya.” Billy’s voice whispered words Immu didn’t want to hear. The tree whispered other words; beautiful, triple-trunked, iridescent white – a ghost gum in full glow under a full moon in mid-Yurluurrp. The cold season. Immu didn’t feel the cold. He should’ve. His clothes were thin, many holes in places there shouldn’t be. No shoes. He splayed his hands on the middle trunk, the thickest trunk, leaned in and whispered his own words.

The air smelled of dry dust, of kangaroo dung, not fresh, and rich, rich, rich bush honey. His mouth watered. No. There was something he had to do. What?

Listen. The whispers descended into sighs; meaningless. He had to get it back, learn what it meant.

“I’ve come, baban. I’ve come for you.” The tree didn’t respond. It knew Billy stood behind Immu, and Billy wasn’t meant to be there.

“Go home, Billy,” Immu said aloud. “He doesn’t want you – you’re not the right blood for this country.” It was cruel, but Immu had to get him away, had to find out why this tree wanted him, wanted to teach him the ways of Naji. He had to know. The native bees sashayed and zubbed in a lazy arc; followed the smell of their hard work. He brushed them away.

“Just grab the honey, Im. We gotta go. Gubba come.”

The Gubba weren’t coming. It was just said to scare him into leaving. Immu pushed Billy, shoved him hard, chucked the sugar-bag honey at him. The little black bees followed the lump as it flew through the air.

“Go – take it. Get outta here. You’re not welcome. Not baban. Not nanga mai. That’s me. This is for me.” The words were not his – they came from somewhere else, something else. He did not know what the words meant – yet.

Dust from Billy’s running feet sifted onto Immu’s skin, settled on the bark of the Naji tree. Iridescent white, triple trunked; his baban. The tree sang its high notes, welcomed him. This was the one. The tree for his journey. The boy named Immu would learn from this Naji and become a man. He would rejoice in the knowledge of his song-lines, or he would fail. Die. Under this ghost gum. His tree.

Immu sat. The dry creek-bed sand crackled and squealed as it adjusted to his shape. It was time.

Legs folded under, hands at rest on thighs black and brown, bare feet that waggled in the red dust. Immu didn’t know what to do. He felt the stir, the need to do something. Eucalyptus drifted down, tickled his eyes and nose. The smell of dry dust filtered through the dark rays of the moonlight.

“What?” he yelled. “What do you want me to do? I don’t know what to do! I’m here for you – help me!” Tears rolled down his face, caught the light in prisms of colour that reflected back to his eyes from the three trunks. Purple clearly defined, then the blue. A rainbow. The colours moved along the veins of the tree; swirled and curled and danced into existence.

Nothing happened. Immu sobbed. He wanted it. Needed to be part of it, as he had been part of nothing before, as he had needed nothing before. Not like this.

Lost. That’s what they said about him. The Lost Boy. No family, no country, no songlines. Billy, too, but Billy was gone now. Immu had sent him away. Maybe it would be better if they did this together. He would go. Get Billy. Come back later.

A hunger that dragged at his memory of all things grabbed him, cramped his body and mind. It would be death if he disobeyed.

Whispers on the wind laughed at him, scolded him. It wasn’t smart to be alone with Naji, with no knowledge of the songline or the ritual or the power of the place.

He was in trouble. He would die here.

The ghosts rose from the tree, pointed at him, laughed, danced and pealed their voices in song. They sang his death. How did he know? He felt it. His heart slowed to nothing. His lungs didn’t take in air, his body slid to the ground in a thump of lump. He would die. Immu let go.

It would be an end to the life of his lostness. At least out here there were spirits, other spirits, people of the land spirits. Maybe some of them would belong to him, or him to them. Maybe not. Did he have to be in his own country to find his own family of spirits? How would he know which was his country? He couldn’t know. He had no one to ask, no family to tell him where he came from. When he was taken from his birth mother at two and placed in the home, he lost it all. All memory. All belonging. And no one came to take him back. They left him. Abandoned him to his fate. A baby in a den of dingoes that smelled blood on the crippled pup.

Alone. Lost. And soon to die.

The body was stuck in the dirt. Things crawled on his skin, sucked on his blood, grew roots through his bones. He could not move. His tears gave them life, grew them stronger. They lived through him, through his body, through his heart, through his words.

Sticks and leaves rattled, whispered, littered the air with little sounds, tiny words that ticked and tacked. Immu spoke the words with a mouth that didn’t move, tasted them in a soul that didn’t have a body, sent them beyond the void, beyond the frame of reference. The words spun out into strings, became one word, one song, one history. His history. His story.

Abandonment. Loss. Aloneness. Mourning. Life in desperation. Fear. No connection. No purpose. The trees were in death throes. The bushes were dead. Insects didn’t come here anymore. Birds long gone. Grasses struggled, barely alive, waited for a guardian. Were there guardians who would come, who would know?

No. None left. The ones who were and did not know would not come. Could not come. The guardians were lost. No one to show them the way home, back to country. Country died, guardians died. Immu died.

No one came back to save any of the Naji. All Naji gone – all but one. The last one. The tree and Immu, the last link to the spirit of place.

His heart stopped beating, became stone. The red stone, the red granite. No feeling, no wind to shape the story into him. No words to bring life to his limbs, his body, his mind. Rocks of the earth, of sand and soil and stones. He was grey, brown, striations of gold and hues of ochre. Stone and earth with no life. Immu was there to deny the movement of time, to be sentinel, a foundation of strength and memories. Immu, as rock, placed there to claim the age, the history of place. Forever. Forever. Now.

Tears became streams, streams became rivers, rivers fed into the ocean, joined with the immense Naji of salt water. Immu cried more. His hurt came from the pain of all the abandoned Naji, left to die without guardians. But what could he do? He was one person, a boy with no blood, no kin, no country. His body rocked and shuddered, racked with sobs and agony.

“Im, wake up, kid.”

It was Billy’s voice. Billy had come for him. He wasn’t alone. Immu jumped up. It was dark. Night. The tree, triple-trunked, iridescent white, glowed at him with a smile of lament.

“No,” Immu said. “I’m not going. This is my place, my country. And if it ain’t now, it’s gonna be. I’m gonna be guardian for this place, this piece of country. I’m gonna be here for all the Naji to find. To come home.” Immu sat, folded his legs, rested black hands on his thighs, brown and red, striped with ochres of yellow and white. Marked. Owned by country. Owned by the tree. This tree. This place. His place.

Billy walked between Immu and the tree. Sat with his legs folded under, hands on his thighs. Words sprang into the air between them. Big words, words of place, words of peoples, words of birds and animals and shrubs and grasses and insects and snakes and lizards and . . . all life, all creatures, all things belonging to this place brought their words.

Bodies sprang up. Feet flung out, lifted and fell, tromped and thumped. Sticks clacked and cracked, hands held them up, threw them down, tapped them together. Birds sang, crickets screaked, snakes smoothed the sand. They came. They all came.

Billy’s sounds, Immu’s words, the magic of the tree Naji, the joining of spirit to soul, of soul to earth, of earth to everything. Home. It was home.

Tears fell, became creeks, creeks became rivers, rivers fed into the ocean. Fish swam from the ocean to the river to the creeks – hid in holes made by red-gums, swished their tails, laid their eggs. Life came to the water. Life that fed the Guardians.

Immu and Billy danced in circles, in shapes and colours and sound. Their movements shaped animals, insects, birds – showed them how to be home. Established belonging, connection to place.

Billy’s hand held another. A girl hand. A woman. Now three of them danced around the iridescent white, triple-trunked ghost gum. Three for three. Guardians of the tree, the three.

Immu reached out and held one hand of the woman, pulled her to a stop. Billy and the woman stood still, heavy and solid, chests heaved and breathed.

“A name. They want a name. Not a name from the other world. A name that belongs here. We have to choose a name.”

The woman laughed, twirled.

“I am djanaba – I laugh and bring joy to my place, to my country.” Djanaba danced away, swung her arms and words and music around the tree. Leaves trickled down, garbed her in muted hues of viridian and cobalt.

Billy closed his eyes, breathed a deep intake of red dust. He smiled as he opened them again.

“I am Barra. I bring food to the people of my place, of my country.” He grinned at Immu. “And what is your name, kid?”

Immu couldn’t think. No. He didn’t need to think. He needed to feel. What should he feel? Solid, unyielding, permanent. A foundation.

“I am Giba, the stone of place. The holder of now. I am sentinel and guardian. I am home.”

three trees3



Do you start with the Title to the story? Or something else, and the title is a temporary collection of words strung together to give you something to hold it in place? Following is a few ways different people start their story, and how they place the Headline (Title to the rest of us).

One way: (see Snyder: Save the Cat) search for the title that best reflects what you’re going to do with the story; set the genre, the audience, the style. Have a title before you go further.

Two way: use something like a short sentence if you don’t have a title. Something that does all of the above: sets the genre, calls to the expected audience, hints at the story. Later, the words can be refined (or redefined) to better suit the expectations.

Three way: Use a ‘stay’ word or number to indicate it’s not ready for a title yet. Yes, some people use numbers. Consider the movie ’47’ – but it only has relevance because of what’s gone before, doesn’t it? So be careful with these things, or the title may put off even the writer. Using a stop-gap like this can take away from the inspiration to continue with the work, so unless you’re very confident it works for you please try to put at least some words to indicate what’s going to happen in the story. Something like the ‘big’ event of the story, or the main character’s name, or something that jogs the juices to want to continue the story.

Four way: workshop the idea until the title pops up and won’t go away. This is a good one, but only if you have people who are willing to do their part as well. It needs to be ‘no strings attached’ and ‘no holds barred’ until a quorum is reached (and even then, author/writer has last say). That will most likely be the title that says: what it is, who it’s for, and what it’s about. An example of this one: Title = Pick, Lick, Roll, Flick (thanks, Cage). It says it’s a story for young people, specifically for young males, that the content is going to be a bit disgusting, and most likely contemporary. (It hasn’t been used yet, but is still on the burner!)

Five way: Look at all the titles in the area this story will belong. Find a title that says the closest to what it is, etc., and make a title similar, but not too similar, different, but not too different.

So, that’s five ways to find a title for a story. What do you do?