• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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You Can Call Me AL

I am really tired of crappy titles. Of douchy titles, generic titles, copycat titles, titles that wouldn’t hurt a fly, titles that don’t cut the line. And I’m really really tired of sub-titles The life and times. The rise and fall. THe extraordinary journey of an earthworm. Please don’t tell me, even if you believe it, that titles don’t matter. Don’t send in a book with a place holder. A title has a lot of work to do. A lot. It has to grab you. I has to sound good. It has to be descriptive. It should be evocative. It has to be memorable. ANd the more you read the book, the more the title makes sense. You might even find out, while you’re reading, where the title comes from and that’s always sweet. World, please stop making bad douchy titles.

Tonight is a workshop for anyone who needs help with a title.  Pitch your titles or titles in progress and see how people respond. The big question: would you pick it up based on the title.

61 Responses

  1. My memoir is titled “Nothing Bad Ever Happened to Me”

  2. Titles are Important….they lure the reader

  3. Preferred title: “Fuck It: Just Read This Book.”

    More likely title: “The 52/52 Project: Conquering the Fears on My Unbucket List.”

  4. Carload of Need

  5. My title:

    What Your Therapist Really Thinks About You

  6. American Lions

    • First, I think you took on a writer a while back b/c you liked the title of her book – or maybe you mentioned you’d read it b/c of the title – either way, I got THAT book and read it and loved it. It was, “As Hot As It Was You Ought To Thank Me.”

      And I agree. A title has to do a LOT of heavy lifting.

      WIP – The Road To Bittersweet

  7. Big book of poems. It was going to be “The Unspoken Word Movement.” Then, “The Unspoken,” which morphed into “Unspoken.”

    Now I’m back to “The Unspoken.”

    • With poetry titles you can get away with more. I like Unspoken better than The Unspoken. (Although it might not make a difference to me if I were browsing shelves; that is, I wouldn’t not pick up one and pick up the other.)

    • I concur with independentclause. My first thought was “Unspoken” is stronger. In the meantime, looks like I have to rethink that douchy sub-title on my own book!

  8. Stony Lonesome Road

  9. But back to titles in the “right” spot here, I’m tired of seeing “The Art Of…”

  10. Signal Interference

  11. My novel: “The Funeral of the Man Who Wasn’t Dead Yet”

  12. Read My Shorts

  13. My memoir about trying to find a family, Free To A Good Home

  14. Eczematic is a coming of age memoir about a woman trying to understand what freedom means against a backdrop of eczema, abuse, and addiction. Does this title suck?

  15. I’m writing a novel about a woman searching for her real mother, and I’m thinking of calling it “The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness.”

    • “Family Happiness” is a little clunky. But “The Survivor’s Guide to…” something else might work.

      • Thank you! That helps a lot. I will think about what I could substitute.

      • “The Survivor’s Guide to Domesticity” You could either go specific or more whimsical/less literal.

        • I like the sound of “domesticity,” and it MIGHT work with the story…although there are three women in the story who figure out how to BE in families–the two now-grown women who were put up for adoption long ago, and the former teenager who was too ashamed to ever meet them–whereas domesticity might sound like they learned how to clean the dustballs and vacuum properly, you know? You are so nice to think about this with me!

      • I hear you on the vacuum aspect of domesticity. But I like the idea of a title that pits home life against circumstances where the basic contract of family happiness is broken. If it took place in the South, I might think “Survivor’s Guide to Sunday Supper”.

        • Oh my goodness! This is GREAT! I do love the cadence of that title…and I think the “Sunday Supper” would work perfectly with these characters. THANK YOU so much! I’ve already tried it out on a few people, and they loved it. (Where do I send your check? LOL)

      • You like it? Hot damn! You can send me a copy of the book. 🙂

  16. The other night, I was hanging out w/ family – mostly female cousins – and one asked the other, “Have you watched all of Girls yet?” referring to LD’s HBO show. Her sister misheard her and said, “Olive Girls? What’s that?”

    W/in seconds we took “…all of Girls?” to “We Were the Olive Girls” & had a full script treatment.

    It’s an epic saga, Mario Puzo Godfather style, about four Italian sisters at the turn of the century. Of course, the youngest dies somewhere early on, causing enough grief to break the family into a million pieces.

    One sister leaves the family olive farm to follow a US soldier back to America. They raise a large family & have a son who becomes president.

    Another marries into an organized crime family. She is widowed and makes her way to the early streets of NYC to convince her son not to seek revenge on his father’s murderer.

    The oldest sister does her best to keep the family olive farm going, but eventually the ends come undone and it’s left to the two sons – the US President and the organized crime boss – to pull the sisters back together and save their family’s heritage.

    It’s not so much the title we’re stuck on – it’s the writing…and casting, of course.

  17. HEAD-SLAPS, SPEED-BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman’s WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life

  18. I really loved reading these. Can we do this again? It’s a great diversion tonight from trying to finish the f*cker.

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