Long Story Titles–A Game for Young Turks?

Jeff VanderMeer • August 29th, 2007 @ 4:06 pm • Uncategorized

Maybe it’s just me, but as I’ve gotten older, my story titles have gotten shorter. It could be I just get tired a lot faster, being ancient and all. Or it could be that I’m finding a certain resonant quality in shorter titles.

For example, in my twenties, I wrote stories with titles like these:

Falling into the Arms of Death, He Found a Beautiful Place
Flight is For Those Who Have Not Yet Crossed Over
Excerpts from the Diary of an Artiste
The Game of Lost and Found
Henry Dreams of Angkor Wat

In my thirties, I’ve written or am writing stories with titles like these:

The Situation
Borne
Secret Life
Mormeck
The Goat Variations

Novel titles are also getting a bit shorter, going from things like City of Saints & Madmen to…Finch.

So, here, I guess is what the titles would’ve been for the stories from my twenties if they’d been written in my thirties…and vice versa…

Falling into the Arms of Death, He Found a Beautiful Place = Falling
Flight is For Those Who Have Not Yet Crossed Over = Flight
Excerpts from the Diary of an Artiste = Excerpts
The Game of Lost and Found = The Game
Henry Dreams of Angkor Wat = Henry Dreams

The Situation = The Situation At the Workplace When I Was Let Go
Borne = Borne is For Those Who Have Not Yet Discovered Their Function
Secret Life = The Secret Life of Cubicle Office Workers
Mormeck = The Adventures of Mormeck in the Himalayas
The Goat Variations = Presidential Follies with the Goat Book

6 Responses to “Long Story Titles–A Game for Young Turks?”

  1. David de Beer says:

    yeah, I’d say stick with the shorter titles. Maybe when you get to fifties, you’ll only use one letter from the alphabet, or just a variety of punctuation, like:

    !
    ?
    ?!
    !?
    ^
    .

    but that might be pushing it..

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    I might just go with

    Untitled #1
    Untitled #2

    etc.

    jv

  3. R. Cameron says:

    One might think it has something to do with maturity and a lesser need to distinguish yourself seeing as how you’re considerably better established than in your twenties. OR maybe it’s because you’re ancient and can’t focus on the title because you’re too busy lobbying against Medicare cuts and those big pants that the kids are wearing.

  4. Steve Buchheit says:

    Nah, “Untitleds” are reserved for photography and art that you need an advanced degree to explain why it’s art.

  5. Mo says:

    I prefer short titles in my own work (easier to remember) – long titles seem more suited to humorous or satirical stuff..but I could be wrong.

  6. Sophie Haley says:

    PLANNING

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>