A quick guessing game, readers: I’ll give you four words, and you try to figure out what they have in common. Ready?
“Blog”. “Networking”. “Theme”. “Gant”.
Right-e-o, now I’ll cue up the iconic thinking music from “Jeopardy!”, and— Oh, never mind, you’ve either figured it out already or I’m about to spoil it all for you. They’re the titles of my previous blog posts, of course – all straightforward, all one word, all… slightly less than dazzling, I’m aware. Maybe coming up with “an identifying name given to a book, play, film, musical composition, or other work” (definition one) or “a general or descriptive heading, as of a book chapter” (def. two) comes easily to some people. Not so to me.
You wouldn’t think it would be so hard. (Or, I don’t know, maybe you would, but I wouldn’t.) Titles don’t have to be all that complicated to stand the test of time. “Oliver Twist”, “Moby Dick”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Dracula”… Those are all just names, for goodness sake. I might just as easily have dropped “The Ballad of…” and called it a day. And actually, a handful of my stories with naught but a name or names for a title do come to mind. But that isn’t a device I’d want to employ all the time.
I tend to find it easier, when naming books in a series, if I give myself a template to follow, a la the alliterative adjective/noun pair pattern established by certified genius Lemony Snicket in every volume (save “The End”) of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Based on the first title of what morphed into my “Wilderhark Tales”, when it came time to title the subsequent five books in the series, I gave myself rules: First word, “The”; second word, starts with “S”; and the third word could be anything that looked promising.
But be it series or standalone, only rarely will I attempt to brave a lineup of chapter titles – bane of the label-challenged! …Well, part-time bane. Certainly, writers like Howard Pyle in “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” – (I pause to sigh deliriously at the mention of Robin Hood) – make it look like a piece of cake. “Robin Hood and the Tinker”; “Robin Hood and Will Scarlet”; “Robin Hood Compasseth the Marriage of Two True Lovers”… Simplicity itself.
Maybe that’s my problem: I struggle with simplicity. I can’t just say “Bruno and the Frogs” and leave it at that. …Or, I suppose I could, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “When Bloated Frog Things Attack… Or, Y’know, Just Sit There”. So if anything, the unfussy, one-word headers of my blog posts are actually a challenging departure for me. (Kinda like having a blog, in that respect.)
And to any of you lovely people who are thinking complimentary things about my blog’s title, “Ever On Word”, I thank you… and then pass the kudos onto my tailor (who, for someone who insists on thinking of himself as thick-witted, spends an awful lot of time being the brains of this operation).