Jane Cooper is one of my best friends and a dear writing buddy. She is one of those warm, thoughtful, creative people who make life for those who know her just that little bit better. She is a teacher of English and Creative Writing. She’s written eight textbooks for use in Scottish Schools, and is the author of 365 Ways To Get You Writing. In this exercise, Jane gets us to explore how create some great titles for our stories.
Over to Jane:
What makes this exercise work?
It is really just a bit of fun, an icebreaker. I’ve used it at bookshop events to promote 365 Ways To Get You Writing. People especially love hearing each other read out back of the book jacket blurbs – it seems to encourage the use of a lot of delightfully over the top voices.
Timing: 10 minutes writing, 10 minutes sharing (group context)
This exercise works brilliantly in a group workshop but you can also adapt it and do it alone.
Note for the workshop leader: this game works best if you don’t tell people much at all to begin with – they shouldn’t know what’s going on until after they’ve done steps 1 and 2.
You can play it anywhere there’s a shelf with a good number of books: a bookshop, a library, even someone’s living room.
Walk up to the shelves and gently pick up a book by an author whose name you do not recognise. Take a note of his or her surname. 2 minutes
Now turn to the page that is the same number as your age. Make a note of the first noun you find on that page. 2 minutes
Only after everyone has done this, tell them that thriller writer Robert Ludlum was known for titles like The Bourne Identity and The Osterman Weekend. The name and noun they picked have given them their own Ludlum title. They should now:
Write the blurb for the back of the book 6 minutes
Once everyone has written, they can read their titles and blurbs to each other. 10 minutes.
You could also:
Write the opening page.
Then work out a plot to go with it.
Work out who the main characters would be and cast the movie.