During the process of writing, I went through dozens of titles for my chapters**. I even used phrases to sum up the purpose so I'd know where I was in my writing--such as MTSYWB. (Okay, it was so long I had to make an unpronounceable acronym but it's memorable.) Because I use the amazing Scrivener, I was able to title my scenes within each chapter giving me easy-to-recall handles for editing content. For example, in the chapter What Would Happen I have two scenes, 'Halloween Party,' and 'Marc POV.'
Screen shot from Scrivener:
Such a small feature on Scrivener, but crucial to my sanity.
Not exciting information for the reader, but when I needed that one scene with Morticia, a title like Chapter 12 did not help. Furthermore, as I wrote and things evolved, titles changed and chapters changed order. I believe this particular example had at least two other versions (Impressions and Bat Fever). Using scene titles within my chapters meant I didn't have to remember a new chapter title or location because the scene was clearly labeled 'Halloween Party.'
That's the technical.
My chapter titles underwent a heavy make-over a few months back. Not because I didn't like them but because I needed to better incorporate music into my novel. I mean, what's the point of having a DJ if you can't capitalize? As I wrote in Lyric Lesson Learned, for a long time I used numerous lyrics in my manuscript. As the writing matured, the lyrics became place holders and eventually unnecessary, but I missed what they signaled. In fact, I wanted more music to signal other levels of emotion. I finally realized I could use songs as titles because song titles can be referenced without fear of music industry retribution, unlike lyrics. To further cover my bum, and because I think the artist and album information add yet another level, I acknowledged each in the chapter titles. Quite suddenly I had .... TAA DAA .... an instant play-list. The DJ, Whitney, applauded me as music became a unique and important feature to the novel.
I spent hours combing through music to find songs that
- sounded right for the chapter
- lyrically supported the story or characters
- revealed subconscious tension
- captured the essence
- amused my DJ
Frankly, I knew I was near the end of a complete and cohesive story when I was able to really delve into my chapter titles. The fact that the table of contents is a play-list just made it that much more fun. If you want to collect these songs in my suggested order, you'll have a musical version of my novel. I like to think of it as Whitney's "Strong Enough" Show.
**My chapter titles for "Strong Enough" are featured above as a page.