Friday, August 22, 2008

Wondering if the title should change

This past weekend, Phill and I attended the Mississippi Writers' Guild Conference in Vicksburg, MS as my sister and mother took care of the kids (Yea! Family! Love them!). While there, we attended different classes/workshops aimed mostly at writing novels. We also met the former head writer of Murder, She Wrote, had lunch with his wife and him. Oh, what fun. What knowledge! Take a gander if you have time.

I found the most interesting classes the ones regarding dramatic monologue and script writing, something that I don't write. Still, the speaker, Rebecca Jernigan, had the ability to open you up to anything with her vivacity. If she led, you followed. When she asked me to choose a picture to then write a monologue, I chose a photo of a greyhound, bedecked in Independence Day finery, yawning. As I wrote, a story opened as if it were a folding fan deployed slowly by an unsteady hand. A racing dog, too smart for his own good, rescued by a lonely widow who had decided to rescue her by leading her to a man. The last part came during the afternoon session. When another participant in the class helped me perform my five minute sketch, the audience laughed. That's good, although underlying the funny parts waits the sadness, the tragic story of not seeing her husband before he died. He was a shrimp boat captain, leaving in the wee hours of the morning. There will be pain with the joy of a new relationship with the dog and hopefully the man. I think I have a voice--coming to life after the loss of someone special.

This brings me to the reason for the post. To an agent, I pitched A Man of Few Words as an exercise in what to write in a query letter. For the one on one attention, that session reached the level of fabulous on the ranking meter. He suggested some great possible log lines and also mentioned that the title had promise, but that a title focusing on her profession as a chemistry professor could change the market of the book. (Let's assume this one will get to the market.)

After reading Chapter 7, you could suggest other titles based on her job or on their superficial juxtaposition of brains/brawn. Anything I've thought about made me cringe. What about you? Got a catchy title that could fit a trade paperback romance novel sitting on a shelf in a big box store?

No comments: