Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bathroom Etiquette 101

I couldn't sleep last night and Dancing with the Stars was not helping so I rolled out of bed and flipped back on my computer. I was trying to think of a better story to send to a publication and figured I could resurect one of my older ones.

Finally, I pulled up one about my mother-in-law.

That's when I wanted to puke. (No--not because it was about a mother-in-law. Mine is pretty awesome.) It was my title. Had I really called my story Bathroom Etiquette 101? No wonder it still sat in my reject pile. Then I whizzed through some of my other misfits and discovered what a serious problem I have.

My titles stink.

Where do all the great titles like Gone with the Wind, or You've Got Mail come from? Does being a good writer mean I have to think of a great catchy phrase to help sell my story?

I know having a great title can sell a book. I know that from personal experience as a bookseller. Quite often, as I placed my order, I'd glance through the titles and the catchy ones caught my eye first. Then I'd study the cover and read the blurb.

So what's a title-challenged person like me supposed to do?

Help!

15 comments:

giddymomof6 said...

Hahaha! This cracked me up! I'm all about the title! LOL! Actually, I have a hard time writing a story until I have a really good title down in my head! And believe it or not, I read this blog because I saw Bathroom Etiquette 101 on it. thought it'd be funny and it was! LOL!

Janna Qualman said...

I think you're right; there's a certain responsibility for writers where titles are concerned. And I do think it comes easier for some. You may just have to train yourself, do some thought processes to work out the best titles. But for what it's worth, I think your blog titles are always apt and entertaining. :)

Leaders In Learning said...

I think you are being too hard on yourself! Your blog posts certainly have a draw!

Melissa Marsh said...

Now see, the title of your post intrigued me! :-)

I have a problem with titles, too. Sometimes they appear quite easily in my muddled brain, other times I just give up and go with whatever sounds the least lame. Ha!

I do know, though, that as far as novels are concerned, I think your agent and your publisher will help you with the title if it's not very catchy. (At least I hope so!)

Ang said...

When I finished my first novel (took 10 years to write) I thought I always had the title figured out until the Published announced they could not accept it because of another manuscript with a similiar title. I sent in about 6 titles and finally had thought this was going to be the stopping point for not publishing my book. I had explained to my twin sister the jest of the book and asked (rather begged for help) and within 2 seconds she came up with the perfect answer and title. She said she likes short titles, ones that are easy to remember. Well, my book title WAS short "Life of a Southern Girl" but still could not use it. Off the top of her head she came up with "My Mind's Attic". PERFECT...so maybe you can summarize the book to someone you know and ask them to spout out a title from the top of their head.

Walk said...

Let me see, "Bathroom Etiquette 101".... How about "When the roll is called up yonder"? No, already used. Ok, how about "You Look Flushed"? I dunno, I'm gonna have to think on this one.

Jessica said...

Get lots of advice! Crit groups, etc. :-)

I've heard titles make a first impression, so good luck revising! But I think bathroom etiquette 101 is pretty funny. I'd read it out of curiosity.

Janna Qualman said...

Terri - Just wanted to come back and let you know your comment on my post today made me ask something of you. So as not to re-type it, I'll just send you over there. ;)

Kasie West said...

Oh, my goodness, Terri. I have the exact same problem. I have been trying to think of a good title for my series for a year. I keep thinking, they aren't going to think I'm a very good writer if I can't even come up with a creative title. It's frustrating to be title challenged.

Very funny post. I'm glad other creative people out there share my similar hang up.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I love to title things. Sometimes it comes before; sometimes mid-way; sometimes at the end. Like you, titles grab me and compel me to peruse further. One of my personal, current favs?

"The Biggest Loser." There's so much possibility in that one!

peace~elaine

Angie Ledbetter said...

Book, story or poem titling is a gift. :) Hold a blog contest, hire someone or barter services!

Pat's Place said...

Well, I think "Bathroom Eitquette 101" is quite catchy. But I am also challenged when it comes to titles. I will enjoy reading the comments and see if they help me!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Writing titles is harder than writing the story! I usually wait until the end of my story to come up with the title in hopes that one will jump out at me as I write.

quaggapa said...

(I'll try once more...)
Titles are easy. It's what comes after them that takes the thought and time. It's part of the poet's curse...(Thanks for the birthday greetings--2 months ago...Sorry...) Revisions are done...Spring release...

Ken Lauher said...

Really enjoying your postings. When thinking about bathrooms, thought you may enjoy this posting, “Turn Your Bathroom into a Spa Oasis Using Feng Shui” at http://tinyurl.com/6nbvvd