A Method of My Writing Madness

Today, I will take you on another journey through the depths of my sometimes devious mind, as we discuss one of my favorite parts in assembling a finished work. The creation of chapter titles is important for me because of two main reasons.

After I have created my outline and all the names of my victims are chosen…err…I meant main characters, of course, I visually play out the interaction of each person, bouncing it off my outline. Now, remember I haven’t written down one word of the story, so my memory is pretty much what I utilize. This can sometimes be a problem, especially if you have three girls at home fighting about which Disney Channel show to watch, and the youngest is screaming at a decibel level somewhere along the lines of an opera singer reaching her crescendo. Needless to say, sometimes I have to remove the words Spongebob or Hannah Montana that somehow found its way into the rough draft. After I’m satisfied with how the chapter flows, I usually pick three possible chapter titles, then systematically eliminate them until the title I should have picked first is the one that’s left. (I did entitle this “Writing Madness.”)

Okay, the other reason the titles are important is this. I simply love to have some foreshadowing for the readers. In my first novel, Lucifer’s Calling, the first chapter is named “Anatomy of a Killer.” Well, the readers have hopefully reviewed the back cover blurb and know the story is about a serial killer, so when they see the chapter title, they automatically know this chapter is designed to talk about Lucifer and his thirst for blood. It gives them a little information but doesn’t divulge too much.

For my next book, I’m trying something a little different by not using individual chapter titles. I don’t know how that’s going to work out, but only time will tell

2 Responses to “A Method of My Writing Madness”

  1. Ed Hamell Says:

    An interesting way to proceed. I can identify with you on the intrusion of outside distractions. I have two granddaughters at home: one is nine, the other nine months….I am way too old to know who I Carly, Spongebob and Patricd and Hannah Montana are, let alone Grobi (i think).
    I was never much for outlining and kind of like to roll with the flow…But in doing so, have found that I lose my way after about forty or fifty thousand words.
    I then go back and start trying to repair the damage while working on backstory and other fine points that have come to light during actual character development. Which is probably why I have a number of unfinished or trashed manuscripts lying around….
    The idea of using the title of each chapter as foreshadowing is a technique that is as old as writing but one that is not used as frequently today. Most commercial novels are differentiated by Roman or Arabic numerals…or maybe just a space or dingbat……I think it is a great idea as it gives the reader an insight into what is about to happen and creates a sort of conspiratorial kinship with the story teller….
    Thanks for the insight into your processes……I will try to implement them into my own writing as I am sure the other readers of this post will. …….Continued success……..Ed Hamell

  2. I always like hearing how other writers work. I have used chapter titles before and they can be helpful. I say whatever works, go for it. Thanks for sharing.

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