Archive for June, 2013

A writer may spend years producing a book but only half an hour on a cover letter to potential publishers and ten minutes (if that) on a title. This is a flawed strategy.

Why bother? What can a title do for you? The answer is: quite a lot. The title is the first example of your writing your potential reader experiences. And there are compelling reasons for making it compelling!

Your title will:

  • resonate with readers, encouraging them to open your book. You should treat this as an honour. Yes, seriously.
  • promise a reader an experience – from light entertainment to catharsis to the step by step acquisition of a desirable skill.

So how do you dream up a good title?

Firstly, you need to understand the theme of/idea behind your book. Then, you need to study modern trends in titles. You need to test your title’s uniqueness and how attractive the search engines will find it. You need to do all this research, then sleep on it and hope for a Eureka moment when you wake up.

More than ten minutes’ worth – that’s for sure.

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When you’re writing your novel, you may feel compelled to include a prologue. Here are some things to think about before you do!

What is the Purpose of a Prologue?

I would suggest these:

  1. To explore the motivation of characters within theme of novel – choose the POV carefully
  2. To set the stage, introducing the reader to the world of the novel and its theme
  3. To enrich the story – not to be an information dump
  4. To establish the beginning of the time-line and period (if relevant)
  5. To be the hook to capture the reader’s interest.
  6. To demonstrate your style of writing and your ability to keep the reader reading.

Can you think of anything else?


Some questions to ask yourself  before writing and some cautions I’d recommend.

  1. Why bother? How would you feel if your reader skipped this to get to the real story? Or didn’t bother to proceed?
  2. Why does your story need a prologue?  What is lacking from your first chapter?  What does the reader need to know before the story begins?

Think very carefully about content before you start to write.

  1. Is the prologue a dramatic event – with a beginning, middle and end – which triggers the story/the quest? Or is the prologue a first scene? Consider structure and length, depending on which.
  2. Which characters could most effectively communicate to the reader what your story is about? What is the effect of including everyone?  Do you need any of your main protagonists – to convey the theme? Could another character convey the theme better in this scene? Avoid having too many Points of View in the Prologue.
  3. Language – this is the key to interesting the reader.  Polish until smooth as silk.
  4. Do you want the tone of your novel/prologue to be humorous? Serious? What impact do you want it to have on reader? Be consistent.

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