James Holden: What’s In A Name?

My short stories tend to have quite functional titles, and are also often quite short. The four stories I’ve completed most recently were called The Worst Job Going, Wardens, Tough at the Top and New Clive. They’re probably a bit rubbish, as titles go.

For a long time, The Worst Job Going was simply called Castle. And I really only changed it because I thought of a couple of stories I could create for the same setting and thought I needed to change it. Struggling to think of something that didn’t completely give the story away, it did have a brief spell as Castle (final title tbc) but happily I’ve dispensed with this now.

Anyway, the other day an email dropped into my inbox about the finalists for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2013 (perhaps they need to change their own title). You can find the shortlist and a link to the accompanying anthology here.

Whilst there are some fine names on the shortlist (including Mark Haddon and Ali Smith) the one story that really caught my attention was Toby Litt’s Call It “The Bug” Because I Have No Time To Think Of A Better Title.

I have previously read Litt’s Adventures in Capitalism, which had some good stories but I personally found to be a little hit and miss overall. But out of the shortlist it’s the story that I really want to read. Maybe it’s time for me to think about making my own stories work a little harder.

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About James Holden

Brought up in Yorkshire, James has washed up on the shores of London. He spends his days working as a political geek. His short stories have previously been read by the Liars League.
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