• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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It’s Based On a Novel By a Man Named Lear

525 Comments as of close of day Friday.  It was like a freakin’ avalanche. This must be how Bransford feels all the time. I wasn’t sure anyone would even leave a title. So thanks to everyone who participated. To choose “the best,” it was impossible to do anything but sift through the  titles as if through a pile of query letters. And I’ve selected those with exactly the same criteria as I do the letters that cross my desk: does the title (and some combination of elements in the letter) make me want to read more?

In Fifth Place: The short stories “The Camera Has Its Reason” and “101 Ways of Hating Claire.” I just like them, the first is kind of heady but also funny, the second, well you know I’m a hater. They’re quirky without being too “quirky.”

In fourth place: The Wrong Daughter (Yes, lots of titles with “daughter” in them these days, but I’ve always felt like the wrong one myself. It’s strong, immediately signals the conflict, and perfect for the women’s fiction market.

In third place:  Zebra Crossing (I just like the way it sounds and the visual it immediately creates in my mind.)

In second place: Gardening In Belvoir. I don’t get how it’s a paranormal suspense. It sounds British. But it’s strange and intriguing to me.

In first place: The Pigeon Drop. I love titles that sound good even when  I don’t know what they mean, but when I discover the meaning, and in this case it’s the name of a common scam, I love it all the more. I also love stories about con artists, grifters, etc. It sounds original to me, but it also sounds like a bestseller to me, like Michael Connelly could have written it.

Okay, that’s my completely subjective take. Will the author of the Pigeon Drop please send his or her address if you want to redeem your prize of an AUTOGRAPHED copy of the New and Revised FOrest for the Trees. askbetsylerner@gmail.com

Thanks again to everyone who participated. Please feel free to agree, disagree, weigh in. It was thrilling to see such a huge and thoughtful response (August, you too, you know it I love it when crap all over my posts.)

20 Responses

  1. Those are interesting titles. They’d probably stand out on a bookshelf for me, but I’d have to read the cover before making the purchase. It was a fun contest 🙂 I usually don’t participate in these things, but I didn’t have much to lose.

  2. Holy cow. Thank you so much!

    Michael Connelly . . . wow. No pressure. 🙂

  3. This was so much fun. Congratulations to the winner. The Pigeon Drop is a great title.

  4. Congratulations, Sarah! It was a fun day, Betsy. Thanks. Let us know if you ever decide to go cyber with a workshop.

  5. Congratulations, Sarah, and best of luck with the book. And thanks for the mention, Betsy – it’s good to know I’m on the right track. This was a nice experience all around.

  6. I was amazed to see so many comments on Friday but once I started reading through the thread I found myself commenting right, left and center. Partly I just really love to get a sense of what everyone who comes here is working on.

    Thanks btw for the helpful suggestions I received on my own title.

  7. It was an eye-opener.

  8. Love seeing Betsy’s take on these. Cool wrap-up.

    Now I just hope nobody stops over here and steals someone’s title!!! (Betsy can you block Michael Connelly from accessing your blog?)

  9. […] . . . my title came in first.  Not only that, but Ms. Lerner had some encouraging things to say about the […]

  10. Congrats to all. And thanks Betsy — that was a very worthwhile exercise. And helpful. Mind mind still envisions the ZEBRA CROSSING. 🙂

  11. That was an amazing exercise and congratulations to The Pigeon Drop author. The best titles, including those chosen, had rhythm and imagery rather than just catchy phrases. Each of the top 5 titles were no more than five words. Is brevity as important as sex appeal?

  12. Yes, I think brevity counts. Brevity concentrates the power of a title, makes it memorable. Examples: “The Man Who Was Thursday.” “No One Asked The River.” “Our Delight.” “Goodbye Columbus.” “Gilligan’s Wake.” “Good Girl Wants It Bad.” “The Easter Parade.”

  13. Congratulations to all. Even though I didn’t enter, I’m still bitter.

  14. what was a place to be a writer unfettered by impending commercial judgment has popped it’s competitive cherry

    This was the only writers blog I posted on for a reason


  15. And I love Zebra Crossing, but they’re all good. Great idea, Betsy.

  16. Oops, that previous comment was meant for the previous post.

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