Saturday, June 27, 2009

Clever Title-ists

I have no talent whatsoever when it comes to naming my books. Which is why I'm grateful I have such clever title-making friends.

As a reporter, it wasn't my job to condense my story into a few pithy words that would both capture the piece and intrigue the reader. Headline writers did that, and I was blessed to have some really good ones over the years. Since I never even did it for a short news story, imagine my surprise when it was up to me to title a 300-page mystery.

When it came time to name my first Mace Bauer Mystery, I dubbed it ''Mama and the Murderer.'' Descriptive, but dull. BORING, in fact. My writers' group brainstormed. The book begins when Mama gets tossed in the slammer because she can't explain why there's a body in the trunk of her convertible. Winning title: Mama Does Time. Brilliant! (Kudos to Kingsley Guy).

Same with Book 2, which is set in the saddle on the Florida Cracker Trail ride. I called it ''Mama Rides with Danger.'' ZZZZzzzzzzzz.

Writers group to the rescue with a double-meaning and clever word play: Mama Rides Shotgun
(Special shout-out to Audrey Roberts.)

I managed to do OK with naming Book 3: ''Mama Gets Hitched,'' in which she ties the sacred knot of matrimony for the 5th time. It's out in 2010.

I'm now beginning Book 4, in which Hollywood comes to little Himmarshee, Fla., to make a movie. I'm back to the uninspired: ''Mama Makes a Movie.''

Yeah, I know .... literal and loser-y. So, I put out the word on Facebook: Help!

Man, do I have smart friends. I got back a passel of proposals. Contenders include Mama Sees Stars, Mama's Big Break, Mama Gets Cut, and Mama Gets a Closeup. Using my executive authorly powers, I vetoed ''Mama Gets Botox'' and "Mama Wants to Direct.'' (Ari Odzer, you'r a funny guy!)

How 'bout you? What's your favorite book title ever?

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