By Diane Holmes, Chief Alchemist at Pitch U
I’m Just No Good At Titles!
Creating a great title can seem like an impossible task.
This week Natalie and I are exploring ways to take a title that works and turn it into a title that jumps up and kisses the reader.
We’re using her upcoming class, Writing Moms: How to Do It All Without Losing Your Mind!, as our “title that works,” and we’re exploring to see if we can create a zinger.
WIN A FREE WRITING CLASS.
Natalie (sweetheart that she is) will award FREE ENROLLMENT to one commenter (in this post or any in this series). Thanks, Natalie!
Previously in this series:
- In From Good Title to GREAT with Natalie C. Markey (Plus drawing on Writing Moms class!), we riffed on familiar titles. (Ex: “What to Expect When You’re Writing”)
- In Part 2: From Good Title to GREAT with Natalie C. Markey (Plus drawing on Writing Moms class!) we looked at Archetypes, Myths, and Patterns (Warrior Writer Mom!) and Popular Culture for $300. (Ex: If Richard Castle Had to Breastfeed it would be a Different Show)
Today we will look at 4 jumping -ff points for brainstorming:
1. Feature the Problem (My Writing Dream Vs. My Two Year Old)
2. Feature the Solution (Be a Mom and Write a Novel in 3-Minute Chunks)
3. Comedy (How I wrote a bestseller, raised 5 kids, climbed Mt. Everest, and Solved World Peace in one Afternoon during nap time.)
4. “Makes Me Think Of…” ( Do it all makes me think of juggling. So... Juggle It All: manuscript, baby, flaming bowling ball).
#1 Feature The Problem
- My Writing Dream vs. My Two Year Old
- Meeting Deadlines vs. Diaper Duty
- Outlining the Next Best Seller vs. Raising the next President
(Natalie: I like this one because it speaks to the enormity of what is involved in both writing a manuscript and raising a child. Neither can be summed up in a quick title but this one is effective and powerful. My opinion of course :-)
- Managing my Writing Business vs. Managing my Home
(Natalie: For a writing mom, there is so much more than just writing and raising your child and that doesn't include if you have another job. I touch on some of these other things in the class and how writers can tackle it all but I think we'll address better titles for that in #7.)
Diane’s Riff off Natalie’s Titles:
- My Great, Big, Fat Writing Dream Meets The Baby Who Shall Be Obeyed
(Diane: This plays on My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey, which featured character Horace Rumpole who called his wife, " She Who Must Be Obeyed." )
- "My Desperate Writing Dream" Faces Off with "The Cutest Baby Ever"
- Writing Deadlines vs. Baby's First Steps
(Natalie: These are both good. I used diaper duty because I hate deadlines and I hate diaper duty, but then I also like the comparison of the deadlines (obviously a time sensitive thing) and the first steps. I see both as being GREAT titles. These are probably my favorite of this round.)
- When Bestseller Meets The Precious Bundle
- Chief Writing Officer vs. Chief, Cook, and Bottle Washer
#2 Feature the Solution
- Be a Mom and Write a Novel in 3-Minute Chunks
- Plotting that Bestseller During Sesame Street (Diane: I really like this. It's really specific, and it will even work as a subtitle with Writing Moms, if you want.)
- Use Baby's Nap Time to Make Your Writing Dreams Reality (Natalie: This is probably my favorite. In the early days I so badly wanted to nap too but I found that once I started writing I was happy to be doing something just for ME and to be working on my dream. Soon it wasn't hard to write during her nap times at all.)
- Let your Kids Keep you Young. Creativity is Only Recess in our Minds (Natalie: This doesn't really fit but it just popped in my head and I loved it! And it is true! Especially now that I'm working on a middle grade, my daughter does help me stay silly and youthful when I'm tight and stressed.)
- How being a mom gives you the creative edge in publishing – (Natalie: A good title but has NOTHING to do with the class.)
Diane Riffs on Natalie’s Titles:
- How to be a Kickass Mom and Still Write Your Novel 3 Minutes at a Time
- Baby's Nap Time = Mommy's Novel Time!
- Let Your Kid Keep You Creative: Being a Mom and A Writer Can Be A Plus
- How I wrote a bestseller, raised a family, became a dive master, sheltered needy dogs, and solved the global energy question during Barney.
- How I wrote a non-fiction novel I didn't plan, maintained freelance contracts, plotted the next Twilight, and cared for an epileptic dog all while on bed rest with my pregnancy.
- How to plot the next bestseller and pluck cereal from your hair while driving the carpool.
Diane’s Riff on Natalie’s Titles:
- Lion Tamer, Novelist, Mommy (same skills)
- Everything I know about writing, I learned from my baby. Or… everything I know about being a Mom, I learned from writing a novel.
- The Mother Novelist: how potty training influenced the way I write, and other ways the two most demanding jobs on the planet can actually work together.
#4 “Makes Me Think Of…”
- Welcome to the circus! Can you do it all? Writing, that diet you keep cheating on, a social life (what's that?), housework...
- Wonder Mom: Mommy by day, bestselling author by night
- Super Mom: Plotting the next bestseller, making it halfway to your writing goal and making meals/bottles all before baby wakes!
- Rules for Raising Your Novel.
- Novel Rearing: How my baby taught me to write
- Career Secrets That Writer Moms Know (that you don't)
- Moms Who Write: Writing Your Book With the Innocence of a Child and the Determination of a Mom
- Living The Writer's Dream: How Real Life Can Clobber Your Dream and How to Have It All
- Living the Writer's Life: What to do when everything else is #1 and the kids need to be fed
So, that’s it for today. Some of the titles didn’t work. Actually most aren’t zingers.
The goal is to explore, see if you can find one that’s even better, and then keep going. This is an exercise in thinking up titles that aren’t just more of the same, to jiggle something loose and enjoy the whole title-creation process.
Let us know which titles worked for you. And remember, Natalie will be drawing a winner to attend her class for free!