The Power of Titles

I’ve written before about Inktip, the site where people can upload their scripts for a modest fee, and expose it to industry professionals. They can view your logline, resume, synopsis, and the script. You’re notified at each step of the way.

I recently uploaded a script for Black Water, the second book in my Mira Morales series. It’s been one of my personal favorites ever since I wrote it. The logline pretty sums it up: A mother follows her daughter’s kidnapper back 50 years in time and must find her before the portal closes, trapping them both in 1968.

My dilemma, at least with Inktip, was about the genre where this story fits. Once you upload your script, you’re given many options about what category/genre the story is. I initially chose crime/mystery (an abduction) but time travel seems to be more sci-fi than anything. But wait, maybe it’s also a family drama (mother/daughter). In the end, I put it under sci-fi, but in the Inktip magazine, it went in as crime/mystery. Whatever. It’s a story. Let someone else figure out the genre!

The script for Ghost Key is also on Inktip. Hilary Hemingway and I wrote it several years back. It’s based on my novel of the same name, a different series. Here’s that logline: A single mother discovers that the quarantine of the island where she lives is due to ancient ghosts – “brujos” – that are seizing and inhabiting the bodies of residents, and she must find a way to defeat them before shed and her son are also seized.

What works for a book may not work as well for a script. What I’ve discovered is that there’s power in titles. Based on views of the loglines and downloads of the synopses and scripts, Ghost Key appears to be the stronger title. It implies ambiguity – is it about what one of those weird ancient keys fits or is it about an island inhabited by ghosts? Or something else? The title Black Water worked for the book, but perhaps to someone in the movie industry, it implies, well, stagnant water? A pond where mosquitoes party in the hot summer months? The title actually refers to an area of black water in the Gulf of Mexico where no marine life is found. Marine biologists are bewildered by it. The area is actually nature’s wormhole, a tunnel through time, specifically to 1968.

So, this is an ongoing exploration. Stay tuned!

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