Titles

I might have mentioned in passing in my previous post that I was working on a magazine of sorts, and we were stuck with deciding a name for the magazine as a whole. While it is supposed to be collection of student written articles, both literary as well as technical – related to my field of engineering; we are hoping to arrive at something that is a bit different and mature at the same time.

Which brings me to the idea behind this post. How deeply does the title of an article or a story, or the name of a magazine affect the probability of the reader sticking to it? I, deriving from personal experience would say that I have often (very often), been fooled by a good title into stumbling into a book that follows the same old story with new names for its characters. I am an avid reader of romance novels, and a majority of contemporary romance is centered around some very basic themes, all with exquisitely designed covers and titles. This kind of repetition is rampant in the paranormal and erotica genres as well.

But then, do the publishers have an option? There’s only so much that can happen in a story and eventually after so many decades of story telling, repetition is bound to happen. Are there limits to human imagination? Maybe. We all derive inspiration for our writings from our experiences, and our surroundings. And I have started believing that we are moving into a world of literary stagnancy. There is the occasional thriller or romance that I really enjoy, but the majority of the authors around the world seem to be repeating the same themes over and over again. In part, this may be attributed to the increase in the sheer number of people who now have access to the writing medium and the time and passion to write. While I deeply appreciate the fact that writing is now becoming more and more acceptable as a profession and pastime – as even the readership is increasing, people have easier access to literary content; I would even deeply appreciate a spurt in the originality in their content.

Meanwhile, when the arena is flooded with the same kinds of stories, the only thing left to differentiate them upon is their cover and title. Which means over the coming years, unless there is some kind of a story telling revolution, covers and titles shall continue to commoditize the very same stories.

What do you think?

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