The Importance of an Accurate Title
Those of you that have been following my blog for a while know that I have been attending a writing class. Several weeks ago I turned in my first assignment to be read by the instructor and several class members, then critiqued. I titled it A Dialogue, which told the reader that there were at least two people talking.
In reality the piece was a monologue – one point of view, one person speaking.
Honestly, I’m so unfamiliar with the word monologue that it never came to mind – along with the fact that in my head, the conversation was two-sided, part of me asking the question while the writer part wrote the response.
Still, this inaccurate title caused all sorts of confusion for the readers who struggled to determine who was speaking in each paragraph. Had I used an accurate title there would have been no confusion.
The title of a work sets the stage. It tells people what they are about to read and how it is to be read. Though it may seem obvious to you the writer, I’ve learned first hand that it isn’t.
For fun, I’ve added my confusing piece to today’s post. It stands as I submitted it, it is a classroom assignment – unedited second draft – at 1300 words.
Until tomorrow – Write On!
~ K.L. Parry
ASSIGNMENT – It’s elementary, middle school or high school (you choose). You’re sitting in class before the bell rings and you see a person not far from you. It is, in fact, you at that age. Study him/her in that moment and tell us about them.
* (Which should have been titled A Monologue in 1977)
By Kathleen Parry
I sit next to this girl in art class – Mrs Tecak’s room, 205. She’s a senior – her name is Kathy. She’s kind of boyish, at least in how she dresses.
Like, today she wore this stupid shirt that said ‘Working Up A Sweat’. I mean, it was a blue short sleeve sweatshirt. Why would you want to wear that to school? And what is she trying to say – she’s sweaty?
Oh, you think it’s sexual? Could be a passive / aggressive thing. I don’t really understand it.
She does dress kinda dyke-y but I don’t think she’s gay. I’ve seen how she looks at John Hinks. He’s a T.A. in the classroom next door. Our rooms share the multipurpose space between them. From were our desks sit we can see right into it and every time John’s in there, Kathy’s eyes go right to him. And so do mine, that boy is F-I-N-E.
Yeah, she’s definitely into boys.
There have been a few times I’ve seen her dressed in something cute. She has this rust colored suit: bell-bottom pants with a matching jacket. It fits really nice. I actually wanted to get something like it for myself so I asked her where she bought it. Do you know what she told me? She said she made it. Then she even offered to write down the pattern number for me. Can you believe it!? Like, even if I knew how to sew, I would. Not! I wouldn’t be caught dead in something homemade. Are you kidding me!? How do you think I got my Grandma to stop sending me all those hideous sweaters she knits?
Yeah, that suit was so much cuter when I thought she bought it.
Listen. This is so funny.
I think it was around a month ago Kathy got a perm. I can understand her wanting to do something with that stringy-straight mop of hers but oh – my God – that was just all kinds of wrong. I mean, really, it was all over the place – fro on top and this shaggy thing hanging down. She looked like a French poodle.
Yup, that’s a home perm for ya. I heard it was a friend of Kathy’s mom that did it right in their kitchen. It was suppose to be a spiral but I guess they didn’t have the right perm rods.
How do I know? Her friend Donna told me.
You do too know her. I’ll point her out to you next time I see her.
Man, I really felt sorry for Kathy, having to walk around with that dog on her head for a whole week. You could just tell she was mortified. She was always tying it up or back and just doing whatever she could to contain it. Thank God someone took pity on her and straighten it out.
And seriously when is anyone going to tell her to quit wearing that light blue eye shadow? Well, maybe it’s not the eye shadow that looks so bad so much as the way she wears it. She doesn’t know how to put it on right. It’s all over her face. I don’t know, maybe her mom just never showed her how to put makeup on?
It’s sad when you think about it. I mean, don’t her parents care? Really, how could you let your kid leave the house looking like that?
Well, at least you don’t notice her pimples so much. You’re too busy looking at those blue Raccoon eyes.
So you have seen her. I thought so. Everyone knows Kathy. She’s not popular but she is in a way – people know who she is. They know her name – they recognize her in the halls. But no one wants to hang out with her and no one invites her to their parties – well, except for that Donna girl and everyone knows Donna is a whore slut.
Now you know who I’m talking about. Yes, Donna with the yellow Camero. The one I caught at the football game last year with my ex. Yes, she’s Kathy’s best friend.
Kathy? Well, she does have a reputation, but I don’t really see it. And if you ask me, she’s still a virgin. That girl can’t even talk to a boy much less do anything else with one. People think she’s a bad girl because her only friend is a slut.
Yeah, she smokes. I’ve seen her hanging out with the rest of the smokers over in the Fedco parking lot during lunch. I guess between her slut friend and the cigarettes she’s earned her reputation. It’s enough to make people talk I suppose.
You know my mom’s a smoker. Do you think she had a reputation in high school? Whoa, don’t answer. I don’t even want my head to go there.
I think Kathy’s okay though. When you sit next to someone all semester you get to know them – you have to eventually talk to them. And, you know me – I’ll talk to anyone, for a minute. I’m kidding. But it’s cool. She’s nice enough and polite. I’d probably talk to her more if it weren’t for that hillbilly accent of hers. Ah! It really drives me crazy – kind of grates on my ears.
She’s from Texas you know. Another immigrant invading Cali.. Pretty soon there won’t be any room left for us locals. Ha!
Just kidding – again. I know you’re not from here, jeeze.
Yeah, but for the most part she’s pretty quiet. I think Kathy’s just really, really shy – because of her accent and all. If I had meant her in Junior High I would have so teased her. But it’s High School. I’m not a kid any more. I’m way too mature for that stuff.
Have you seen her drawings?
She’s really talented. The work she does in class is amazing and I overheard the Girl’s V.P. say Kathy was gifted. She even took first place in the school art contest. It’s too bad though because I don’t see her doing anything with that. She didn’t even show up for Career Day. I can see her putting in a year at community college, maybe two, but that’s all. She’ll end up doing some dumb boring job like painting statues in a warehouse – one after another along an assembly-line until her fingers fall off.
So I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean. No, she’ll never do anything great because she just doesn’t have what it takes to be a real success. She doesn’t have confidence. I can see it in her walk and how she’s always looking at her feet. That girl has no faith in her herself. It sucks too because she’s really a nice person.
Did I ever tell you about the necklace she gave me? It was a piece of turquoise that hung from a leather strap. I told her I liked it. I didn’t really – I was just being nice. I mean, it was kinda cool but you know, not really my style.
Anyway, the next day was my birthday. I don’t know how she found out about it but she did and she gave me the necklace. I was like, Wow! I mean the girl wore it practically everyday. Then she just gave it to me.
Yeah. It’s the one hanging from the rear-view mirror in my car.
I’ve seen her smile. Not really big like when your teeth show but a small smile.
Is she happy?
She’s in her senior year of High School with no boy friend and no plans for the future. She’s not pretty, a terrible dresser and she’s got one whore slut friend. What do you think?
Don’t look at me like that. I’m not taking on any charity cases. I’ve got myself to think about. It takes a lot of work to be me.
Don’t worry. Kathy’s tougher than she knows. She’ll be okay.