Writing Titles and Last Lines
Two of the hardest things for me to do is decide on a decent title for what I am writing and a snappy last line.
From what I’ve read, a title should have significance to the story or play, give a clue about to expect, but not reveal the entire story. Titles such as They All Die or The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing don’t leave much to the reader’s imagination.
In many agents’ opinion, a one words title is not good, but what about
Jaws, Macbeth, Frankenstein, or Dracula? If longer titles are better, why is For Water Like Chocolate” considered one of the worse titles ever?
A title is so important to me, that until I find one I cant write, even if I know my characters and have a vague Idea what story they want to tell. Does this plague you too?
Today, however, I am not sweating over a title, but struggling to write the
last line of a humorous play. Since the play is a comedy, the last line must have a real punch to it. In comedies the last line should leave the audience laughing and wishing for more. Easier said than done. In a drama, the last line should give the audience something to think about.
The last line is just as critical as the first line of your manuscript, however it is first line that gets all of the attention in “how to” articles. If your book will have a sequel, the last line should elude to that. If this is a stand alone book, your last line should not be a 250 word sentence that sums up all the loose ends.
So, how will I finish my play? I’m not sure. I’ve read and reread the play, and nothing c
omes to mind. I know, from previous experience, that something is amiss earlier in the play. When I correct a few words, add a line or two, the character who must say the last line will be clear.
As Christian writers, we want our writing to please God. He has promised to be there for us. Keep the faith and mediate on these verses as your struggle with titles and last lines.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him.
Patience. Wait. You can’t force the last line. The best is yet to come.