Monday, March 9, 2009

Meet Bob, My Inner Editor

I didn't know what to title my short story, based on my novel's main character's early childhood, when I first started writing it, so I just labeled it: "Loss: Anne's story." The "title," at the very least, helped distinguish it from all the other Microsoft Word files that contain notes, tidbits of stories, and outlines in my novel folder that are saved on my desktop.

As I've been working on the story, my inner editor has been nagging me: "What's the story's title? Why haven't you come up with a title yet? You need a title!" The label, apparently, was not good enough for my inner editor.

I like to call my inner-editor Bob, if only because it's a lot easier to say, "Bob, shut up." By naming my inner editor, it turns that incessant, writing-blocking voice inside my head into a "character," someone that I can respond to and have discussions with. I can tell "Bob" that I'm focusing on the plot right now, and that the plot will drive what I end up titling the story. More often than not, my inner editor, Bob, listens and responds.

Once I finished "discussing" with Bob the merits of focusing on the plot, he quieted down and left me to my work. I also realized that the label could actually be the story's title. "Loss" - it's simple but it encapsulates what the story is about and is a theme in my novel. "Anne's story" - that I wasn't so keen on at first, why I shied away from using it as part of the title and why "Bob" kept nagging me.

Then again, I'm beginning to think I could create a set of stories, set around themes from the novel, for the two main characters: Anne of 2005, and Charlotte of 1792. In that case, labeling or titling it "Anne's story" makes perfect sense. It distinguishes it from Charlotte's.

Take that, Bob!

See? Talking to your inner editor - rather than trying to ignore him (or her) outright - has its benefits. Sure, you might sound a bit crazy to your non-writerly friends, but at least you're putting that inner editor in its place so you can get back to doing what you do best: writing.

All of this isn't to say that I'm set on using "Loss: Anne's story" as a title (it very well could change), but for now, I like the title, the label, or whatever you want to call it.


Andi said...

What a GREAT idea, I love it. I am now contemplating my inner editors name....

Annie Wicking said...

Normally when I'm looking for a title, something within the story springs out at me, then I use that, it could be anything.

In the story I've just finish my character takes a trip on a bus, then within the story itself she thinking back over why she ran away from home as a teenager.

So my title came from the two journey she was making and it was called 'The Return Journey'

I hope this is of some help to you.

Thank you for joining my followers, Liz.