“The Perfect Title” at The Walrus Laughs

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The Walrus has a delightful little tidbit that it tweeted this afternoon that caught my attention. It’s a piece written by Laura Bourdreau as part of The Walrus Laughs and assesses some of the stereotypes present in CanLit at the moment. In particular, it takes a crack at basic CanLit novel elements and trendy titles. My wife read me the whole thing in a BBC news anchor accent, which added to the article itself. Well worth a look if you have a moment.

The [Profession] of [Place Name]

Interesting professions include murderer, cowboy, and spy (for men), or midwife, concubine, and contortionist (for women). If all of your characters are accountants, we suggest you revisit Module 2 (“Why All Your Characters Should Be Murderers, Cowboys, Spies, Midwives, Concubines, or Contortionists”). If all of your characters are evil super-villains at the Canada Council for the Arts, please revisit Module 1 (“Not Biting the Hand that Feeds You”).

To ramp up excitement, choose an exotic place name from the following list, even if it has almost nothing to do with your book: Istanbul, Afghanistan, Shanghai, Cairo, Paris. This is especially good advice if your book is actually set in Saskatoon, SK.

Avoid combinations that sound like anthropological studies (e.g., The Hippies of Nelson).

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