Thursday, April 09, 2009

Calling People Good with Titles

I lack the skill of inventing good titles.

It's one of several reasons I rarely bother coming up with a working title for my novels (the others include not wanting to go through mentally renaming my "baby" and the fact that marketing always changes it anyway).

BUT . . .

Some of you may recall that I'm working on a grammar, usage, and punctuation book. I'm not Strunk and White. I'm not Chicago. I'm not an expert.

But I am a writer and an editor and an English major who graduated cum laude. I'm affectionately known among friends as the Grammar Nazi. I do know a few things.

I'm writing the book because I've had so many fellow writers ask me questions, and when I offer an answer that's actually understandable, they tell me I should write a reference book on these things because they want it on their own reference shelf.

I'm in the final stages of writing it, and I hope to have it available real soon. Down the road, I'll likely do updates and new editions, adding new topics that readers ask and want included. For now, I've been keeping a running list of common questions on grammar, usage, and punctuation, including some of the topics I've used for Word Nerd Wednesday.

Now I need a title. And I'm coming to my peeps for help!

I'm totally stealing this idea from Luisa at Novembrance, who asked her blog readers to help come up with a title for her forthcoming cookbook. (I wanted to submit an idea for her, but as I said, I'm really, really bad with titles, so I sat back as others offered fantastic, witty suggestions.)

Here's the deal:
Throw out title ideas in the comment trail or e-mail them to me directly. I'm not averse to subtitles to go along with the main title. I might like having a subtitle, actually.

If I pick your title suggestion, you'll get a free copy of the book as a thank you.

So . . . help? Please?

Today's tour stops are two people who didn't used to give LDS Lit much of a shot. Glad they did this time:

The Dance
Crash Test Dummy Diaries

The latter is, in Crash's own words, an "unreview." Her way of telling how it came about isn't quite how I remember it. (She got the PDF file like all the other tour people, for starters.)

But I think I tricked her into buying the book. Bwahahahaaa . . .


Kristina P. said...

I got nothing. Unless you are OK with a title that has the word "sucks" in it.

Luisa Perkins said...

Off the top o' my head:

Not Your Grandma's Grammar: A Fresh Guide to English Usage

Okay, I'll keep thinking.

Rebecca Irvine said...

I'm bad at titles too... Here are my lame suggestions:
Grammar for Dummies :-)
The Grammar Nazi's Guide to Great Writing
The Good Grammarian

and the absolute lamest:

I Ain't Lyon: The Best Darn Grammar Book Ever Written

Lara Neves said...

Becky totally stole my idea!

The Grammar Nazi's Guide to the English language.

Or the Word Nerd's Guide. Since Nazi might not really be PC.

Larsens said...

"Grammar according to Annette"
"Grammar or Grammer: Annette Lyon's quest through English language"

Chas Hathaway said...

How about this:

Flat as a Doorknob
Grammar cautions to keep you from sounding as dumb as a pancake

- Chas

Heather Moore said...

Why not play off of your blog posts?

The Word Nerd Report: A Grammar Guide for Serious Writers


The Word Nerd Grammar Guide for Serious Writers (Edition 1)

Annette Lyon said...

Great ideas, everyone! Keep 'em coming!

(See, I KNEW you guys were better at titles!)

Heatherlyn said...

I cannot offer help with the title. But I'm jealous. (OK, so I'm not the jealous type, but ... what a FUN project!) It would be so cool to publish a grammar and punctuation book!

Luisa Perkins said...

One Flew Over the Gerund's Nest: Your Guide to Grammatical Sanity

Jordan McCollum said...

The Joy of Verbing, Nominalizationating and Other Things You Should Never, Ever Do in Writing.


Heffalump said...

Understandable Grammar

Anonymous said...

I'll refrain from sullying your good name, thank you very much.

I hate titles of any form. Most of my WIP's have the main character's name as the save file because I can't name things until they're finished. I just feel like I don't know it well enough until it's over. I do the same thing with my blog posts.

Rachel Sue said...

I agree with everyone that said you should stick with the whole Word Nerd thing.

Also if possible the word exciting should be in there some where. I mean, how many Grammar books have the word exciting in the title?

Anonymous said...

Keeping up with Grammer
Keeping Pace with Grammer
Grammar – Simplified
Coherent Grammar for Writers

Anonymous said...

I'm liking the FLAT AS A DOOR KNOB one. Hahaha.
I'll have to think on this.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I'm envisioning a funny subtitle along the lines of...

Because it doesn't have to be mind-numbingly terrifying...

Little GrumpyAngel said...

I like Becky's "Ain't Lyon" idea:-)

Let me think of some other possible titles and I'll be right back.

Carolyn V. said...

The Annette Lyon's grammar book for writers who can't write so good and want to do other stuff too. (Okay, that is really from Zoolander, but I got a good chuckle out of it when my husband said it.)

Jen said...

I'll have to think on that one. I'm not creative on the fly like that. BTW Annette, I've read two of your books in less than two weeks. I'm hooked! You have a gift. Thanks for sharing it with us.

An Ordinary Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melanie Jacobson said...

Um, yeah, I'd say that "grammar Nazi" is definitely not "kosher." I don't often see those two words in a sentence together.

Let's see...

Oh, you could call it On the Egregious Overuse of Quotation Marks. No? Hm...

I keep thinking something Grammar Police-y. Like...

Oh, wait. No. Different idea. Grammar School: Taking It Back to the Basics. Or Grammar School: An Elementary Education.

Yeah, that's all I got.

Anonymous said...

I have several that I think are good. But it's almost one AM, and I'm therefore afraid they aren't as great as I think they are. ("That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.")

But how about "Adverbs and Pronouns, and Verbs, Oh My!"

See. I'm fried. I need to get to bed!

Laura said...

"Say What You Mean"
- It's All in the Grammar

As a writer, that's my biggest focus. I want the idea in my head to come out on paper, and it's amazing how grammar does that.

On the flip side, there's probably a reason why most of my work only has a one word title :)

Kami said...

Let's see, how about:

Write the Right
Sharpen the Word
Grammar Rulz and Other Misspellings
To Blunder No More
Lyon in Wordland
The Lyon, the Glitch, and the Wordblock

Okay, probably lame but I'm not great at titles either!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Okay, here's what we came up with at our house.

"Grammer: Get it Write"

Elisa said...

I know someone who wrote a grammar book-- "Things your Grammar never told you."

I have no ideas on a good title though. I'll think on it.

Elisa said...

How about "You did what with your Grammar?

amelia said...

The Lyonista: Grammar is always in style

were r u grammer: A grammar guide in the texting era

Word Nerds Unite

Let them eat words: 50 grammar mistakes - and how to correct them

...or howabout something with a malapropism in the title? I can't think of anything off the top of my head. I WANT TO WIN THIS BOOK!

Mikki said...

How about:
The Write Stuff and then some fantastic subtitle?
I'm not to good with this sort of thing either.

Jo said...

You Put the Comma Where?
Your Guide to Grammar
Grammar is Not Just for Fifth Graders!

Emily M said...

I like "you put the comma where?"

I don't think it would work, but I think a title full of grammatical errors would be funny. Something like "You're Grammar Guide: Its Time To, Learn from the Word Nerd."

Ouch! Doesn't it hurt your eyes just to read that?


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