Titles and Truths – The Final Polish Follow Up

It’s been a whirlwind of a week since we hosted our first day event at the excellent Ministry of Stories.

Ministry of Stories, Official Inspiration to the Nation

I loved meeting all of you and reading the beginning of your stories – and I look forward to reading the rest, once your stories are all polished up.

I said in my opening little speech that I was so impressed with the standard of the manuscripts. Sara G and I have read through many, many openings in our days running the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices project, and the group that gathered around those gourmet pastries definitely raised up that bar.

But there were two areas of improvement that kept coming up.

First and foremost, TITLES.

When submitting, your title is very important. Think of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Beast Quest, The Chaos Walking trilogy. These are titles that stand out, that do what they say on the tin.

You are creating a brand, something creators of shoes or video games pay MILLIONS to do – so you’ve got to spend some time creating something good.

You’ve got try to take your title at face value – you know the significance of the word(s) from your story, but the reader doesn’t. So make sure that you’re giving the right signals as to the book’s content without any context.

Secondly, TRUTHS.

plot thickens PB

I read a lot of fantastic plot summaries, with rise and fall, twists and lots of pace – all great – but just as important as the action plot is the truth you’re questioning. Sara G recommends a book called THE PLOT THICKENS by Noah Lukeman.

Lukeman has a lovely way of describing this issue. He labels the plot as “the surface journey” with the emotional undercurrents making up “the profound journey”. Make sure your profound journey is actually profound – age appropriate to the young people you are writing for.

And why is it that only YOU can write this profound journey. What can you bring that really makes it meaningful?

Hope to see you all again in the future. Stay tuned for details of our next event!


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