Monday, October 18, 2010

Entitled To Be the Best

~~If every sentence of your novel's elevator pitch--the four or five sentence synopsis--doesn't tie back to your title's image and theme, it may not be the right title for your novel. That's what I've discovered was the problem with my novel-in-progress' original working title. Mother's Day referred directly to Laura Grace Chandler, my main character, and indirectly to her daughter, Samantha. The novel is so much deeper and broader and the title wasn't big enough to cover it.
~~Before you remind me that a novel's title isn't set in stone (or ink) until a publisher prints it, let me assure you, I know. My need for the best working title is all for me. When a friend, who knows the story of the novel commented that she wouldn't pick it up if all she knew was the title, I knew something was wrong. In fact, I think I already knew that. I'd been having trouble answering the question, "What is your novel about?" for some time. As I mentioned the characters Rosemary, Dean, and Mack, my subconscious was telling me that Mother's Day didn't fit. So, I went on a title hunt.
~~My first try was Lady in Waiting. At least I could tie this title to Laura Grace, Samantha, and Rosemary. Some of my fellow CCWC members liked it better than Mother's Day, but something was still wrong. Lady in Waiting sounded like a historical romance. And my book isn't either. It's a contemporary and not a romance at all. So, back to the drawing board.
~~On the Forum, the October Exercise in the Writers Exercise folder proved to be fertile ground. And yet, I still didn't see it. John did. The exercise centered on Mack Singer, a retired Marine, now teacher. As he spoke through the free association exercise on physical and emotional abuse of Dean, he used the term "friendly fire" and it was perfect. It just took me a week to realize it.
~~During MeccaFest, I was asked constantly about what I was writing. As I used Friendly Fire to describe my novel, I was struck by how easy it had become to explain my theme. In other words, the perfect title had appeared.
~~So, here it is--my new elevator pitch for Friendly Fire. Tell me what you think. ; )
Our deepest wounds come from the friendly fire of those around us who should be our strongest support. Laura Grace Chandler, a retired, recently widowed teacher, finds her friendly fire comes from losing her husband of many years and childlessness. The foster child she adopts has been sexually abused. Laura Grace's best friend and her son are abused by their husband and father. Healing must come by helping each other. Their new friend, a retired Marine, has wounds from his own friendly fire. Together they will learn to heal and love again. Friendly Fire is the first of two novels set in Cherry Hill, Georgia.
~~By the way, as an added bonus, I've found the title for Friendly Fire's sequel as well--Line of Fire. I'll save that story for another day. ; )