As someone who writes novels clocking in at 130,000 words, it should probably come as no surprise that I don’t do well with tasks that require me to whittle down information. I’ve always struggled with book titles in particular and can spend hours agonizing over the right handful of words to properly convey the essence of a particular story. Usually I end up with a rambling, grandiose title that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Even now, I’m a little bit amazed I was able to arrive at a single-word title for my book; I’ll admit, brevity is not my strong suit.
As for chapter titles, I never gave them much thought until I published my book. In fact, I hadn’t originally intended to title my chapters. Most romance novels don’t utilize them, but with the advent of the e-book and its indispensable Table of Contents, I feel like chapter titles are becoming more popular. They plant these wonderful little kernels of dread or excitement, and all based upon a solitary word or clever turn of phrase. After all, if I’m reading a book well past midnight and am toying with the idea of reading just one more chapter, I’m much more likely to do so with a chapter heading vividly shouting “Prison” versus boring old “Chapter 10.” Prison?! How dreadful! How intriguing! I must keep reading! Sleep is for the weak!
Better still, my experience creating chapter titles for Clingstone wasn’t the torturous quagmire I’d feared. Each new chapter was an opportunity to keep my prospective readers engaged and anticipating the next arc in the story, and it was a relatively simple matter of plucking out a favorite line or keyword that best encapsulated the twists and turns to come. Below are all the chapter titles from my book, which begs the question: Did the chapter titles help enrich Mae and Creighton’s story? Did reading a particular title propel you eagerly forward and promote the overall flow of the book? Are there ones that make you wince a little when you read them, anticipating the worst? Better yet, do you have a favorite, or is there one that makes you laugh aloud when you read it? My favorite is always changing, but I’d probably pick “A Dream, as Told by Mae,” simply because it conveys Mae and Creighton’s story coming full-circle.
But “The Extraordinary Miss Sadie Levine” is a very close second because of the antics that ensue in that particular chapter. Reading that title makes me grin and cackle every time!
Chapter 1: “Lasting Impressions”
Chapter 2: “Gossipmongers”
Chapter 3: “Inspection”
Chapter 4: “Wrath of a Yankee Officer”
Chapter 5: “Eviction”
Chapter 6: “Treasonous Acts”
Chapter 7: “Coralie’s Latest Boon Companions”
Chapter 8: “Georgia Military Institute”
Chapter 9: “The Extraordinary Miss Sadie Levine”
Chapter 10: “Prison”
Chapter 11: “An Unforeseen Outcome”
Chapter 12: “Mercy from a Harridan”
Chapter 13: “To the Things That Matter”
Chapter 14: “A Momentary Reprieve”
Chapter 15: “Hopping Off the Fence”
Chapter 16: “Eviction II”
Chapter 17: “Indigents”
Chapter 18: “Smoke and Mirrors”
Chapter 19: “Cost of a Stolen Toy Horse”
Chapter 20: “Mr. and Mrs. Branagan”
Chapter 21: “Eyes the Color of Fine Wedgwood China”
Chapter 22: “Strangers in the Woods”
Chapter 23: “Revelations”
Chapter 24: “The Moss Family”
Chapter 25: “A Dream, as Told by Mae”
Copyright © 2016-2017 Marti Ziegler