A question for Beston Barnett

Q: Are titles easy or hard for you? Do you start with the title or the story?

A: Titles are the best! Really, coming up with titles is like coming up with band names: it’s pure id. I usually do it after the fact, with an eye to seeing the title in a list of other titles. Something to stand out, but without, I hope, being too obnoxious.

Chapter titles are even better. When I was revising my (unpublished) novel, A Catalog of Devils, I suddenly realized that I could give the 40 or so chapters titles. I went through each chapter, looking for my favorite phrase or word and used that. It was like bringing all the best, trickiest bits of my writing to the forefront. It sounds absurd, but out of the year and a half I spent on the novel, that two hours of titling chapters was the emotional highpoint.


Beston Barnett’s story “Velaya, the Dreaming City” was
published on Friday, 16 March 2018.

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