November 4, 2012

Lessons from the Trail: Chapter Titles

One of the consistent themes of my conversations with folks about my book-writing process has been the salience of chapter titles.

 From the beginning of my research process, I organized and prioritized my studies by picking chapter titles. I knew that I wanted to be selective about topics in Chiles' life. I didn't want this book to become a Lawton Chiles encyclopedia.

So I one by one, I chose a group of about 20 chapter titles that, for me, covered all that was iconic about Chiles' life. Some of the chapter titles changed five times. "A Personality for Politics" was chosen in the last few weeks of editing. Others have been consistent from the beginning--like the first chapter, "Munn Park."

Initially, some of the chapter titles were a bit too metaphorical, but now I think that there is an appropriate mix of whimsy and art and practicality in the titles. "A Personality for Politics" says something basic about Chiles, "The He-Coon Walks..." says something grand and metaphorical.

I hope readers are both entertained and informed by my choices.

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