Sunday, 30 May 2010

Titbits and Title Tattle

A round up of forthcoming book festivals in Scotland, an a more in-depth run-down of the Wigtown Book Festival in September from The List (I am desperately hoping to go and see Nick Cave in Dundee).

Shari Low with praise for Alex Gray's FIVE WAYS TO KILL A MAN and Karen Campbell's SHADOWPLAY in the Daily Record. The Daily Record also reports on Alex Gray'svisit to Barlinnie Prison in which she apparently got some stick over writing about crime when she has never committed one.

If you're in Stoke Newington next week, why not go and see Louise Welsh along with Mark Billingham, Dreda Say Mitchell and Toby Litt.

Here's a Conversation With Quintin Jardine.

The lovely Declan Burke - one of my favourite authors, and all-round top bloke - has lovely things to say about OLD DOGS. Thank you Dec, I owe you a hug.

Over at The Guardian, gearing up for the Hay Festival the Guardian asks various authors, including Ian Rankin, for the answers to questions they never get asked. Amongst the others, Jonathan Coe says 2010 is the year for comic fiction - yay! And I particularly like Roddy Doyle's list of questions he can't believe he was actually asked.

Brandy Purdy reviews Louise Welsh's TAMBURLAINE MUST DIE.

What happens to a 14 year old Sherlock Holmes to turn him into the person he is?

And, finally, I've been thinking about book titles recently, as I've been trying to come up with a title for one of my current WIPs (I'm currently working - very slowly I might add - on two books). This particular one is at the very early stages (ie at the stage of lying on the sofa with my eyes closed thinking about it) but today, after some brainstorming over lunch, and me telling wan what it was about, we came up with two titles WALK ON THE WILD SIDE and BEAT THE DEVIL'S TATTOO. Both fit the premise I have in mind, but one would take it a more serious route than the other. I guess I will just have to write the book and see whether it's funny or not. So, dear reader, are titles important? What sort of titles attract your attention? What titles or sort of titles turn you off?


  1. Donna - Thanks, as always, for this roundup : ). Your question about titles is interesting, too. For me, titles matter; I'm a linguist, so I notice things like clever plays on words (That's why I think your Go to Helena Handbasket was such a terrific title). At the same time, I forgive a less-than-perfect title if the content is good : ).

  2. Beat the Devil´s Tattoo sounds like a real Donna Moore, I think, while the first one could be written by anyone (in almost any subgenre).

    When I like the author, the title doesn´t mean much to me - which is probably not very helpful.

  3. Margot - aw, thank you :o) I'm very attracted to titles. I picked up Christopher Moore's ISLAND OF THE SEQUINNED LOVE NUN just because of the title. Like you, though, I'm more than happy to forgive a poor title.

    Dorte - no, that's very helpful! And both those are song titles - the first is Lou Reed, the second is Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

  4. Sometimes I wonder if I like writing because it gives me the chance to come up with titles. Like being a kid and thinking of the names of bands I'd be in, then admiring paintings but liking the titles more, moving on to headlines in papers, naming children, short stories and poems. And maybe that's why my writing's not all it might be - after the title I almost feel my work is done. 'Where the Wild Things Were' was a title I enjoyed more than most for one of my poems; 'Summertime no. 9A' is groovy for a painting; Jesse Garon and the Desperados or even just Muddy Waters for a band/singer, The Unbearable Lightness of Being or Midred Pierced for books and Icarus for a high flier. Also TEMAMORHPSIOS by Kafka was pretty cool as it's ever changing.
    The titles you have don't do it for me though. I reckon you should come up with another couple first, see where they get you. It might be that there's little chance that it won't be funny - there's bound to be humour all over the place, even if you're playing it straight (don't think you could resist). They might be great songs, but I like a little wordplay myself, or maybe a line from the songs rather than the titles (No One Left To Pawn? Holly, Candy and Little Joe?) But hey, only one man's opinion. Mainly glad you're mind is busy.

  5. I'd lose the BEAT and keep THE DEVIL'S TATTOO. The title of your book doesn't mean much to me, although -- I'll read it no matter what it's called.

    --Jerry House

  6. -Ikjm b]\

    (Above courtesy of my cat Abigail)

    I never paid that much attention to titles until I heard the title of one of what became one of my favorite 1980's tunes - "I ain’t never gonna love nobody but Cornell Crawford" by K.T. Oslin.

    Walk on the Wild Side is, IMHO, way too tame for you. OTH, The Tattoo title might be confused with Steig Larrsen, so who knows.

    As always, I love your blog.

    Alabama Jack

  7. Nigel - sounds like you're like me on titles. I like No One Left To Pawn.

    Jerry - aw thanks! And I like the idea of removing BEAT until I read...

    Jack - bugger, I'd forgotten Larsson (probably since I'm the only person in the world not to like the books...)

    Oh well, back to the drawing board - it will continue as UNTITLED 3B.

    As an aside, does anyone come up with a title and then write something based on it? I do that for short stories. As part of the brainstorming yesterday I came up (jokingly) with the title Bedfellas, so I now have plans for a short story with a couple of petty criminals who work in a bed store...

  8. I can see the point about Stieg Larsson, but if it is some sort of caper (with the right kind of cover), I don´t think it matters if the title reminds people of Larsson.

    Just like no one will accuse you of plagiarism if you change "Badfellas" to "Bedfellas".