Unit 6: Developing, Revising and Publishing

“I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.” — Truman Capote

Click below for a video introduction to this final unit.

Unit 6 Introduction — video transcript

Working titles

This unit is about finessing, so let's start at the beginning: the title. It might be your first thought and the story flows from there, or the title comes to you whilst drafting. But the title can be the hardest decision, as you want it to be fresh and intriguing, while also relevant to your piece, but without revealing too much.

It could be anything: a noun (The Trial), the protagonist's name (Mrs. Dalloway), a key aspect of the story (The Thirty-Nine Steps), a concept that embodies the story (Brave New World), or a play on known phrases (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).

Remember: everyone struggles with titles. For example, try this quiz in which you're shown a series of rejected titles for famous novels. You just need to guess the published title for each, type it in the box and click Check to see the answer.

"Pride and Prejudice" (Jane Austen)
"The Great Gatsby" (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
"Lord of the Flies" (William Golding)
"War and Peace" (Leo Tolstoy)

Consider your title with fresh eyes when going back through your draft and ask anyone who reads it whether they feel the title serves the story. If planning to publish, you may also want to search for the title on Google to see if and where it's already been used. A duplicate title is by no means a deal-breaker and there are lots out there (e.g. both William Faulkner and Edith Wharton wrote books called Sanctuary), but it can help to find something original.

When you're ready, click into