Carrot Stew

“I don’t know what to call it!”

I bet you’ve said that before. If you have writer friends, you’ve heard it.

Sometimes a poem, a story, a whole series of novels, can begin with a flash to your brain. BOOM! There’s the title and the rest falls into place.

Usually, images and characters swirl like bits of stew in your head. A taste here, a nibble there. EW! Toss that out. Somewhere in the process of cooking up ideas you might find one bit that stands out. “Ahh… carrot stew.”  And that’s what you call it.

If you’re stuck on a title, don’t sweat it. That needs the least of your concentration in the editing stage. After I’ve read it I can make suggestions based on what I took away from your story.

Often I skip titles altogether. In poems and short fiction a title can bring an expectation or an assumption to the reader before they even read the piece. What a shame if she didn’t take away a unique experience because of a preconceived notion. What a waste if she gets hung up on the title and after reading says “I don’t get it” because from her perspective the title and the body of work don’t mesh.

It can be claimed that once you’ve written something and send it out into the world, each reader has an understanding relative only to him or her. Isn’t that the case with music and lyrics? You’ve cooked your stew. Let your guests decide how it tastes.

On a lighter note, I had no idea this song existed until a few hours after writing this post.