Thursday, November 20, 2014

Terrible Titles

Have you ever come across a phrase and thought, 'that would make a great title for a book.'? It happens to me all the time, not that I can recall many of these snippets of genius. I’m told that if you are an author you will certainly have these moments.

I recall one suggestion, made when we were all sitting around the campfire with a desire to eat toast but without the required toast-making equipment. So we improvised, jamming a stick through a piece of bread, then securing it upright in the ground, just close enough to the fire to brown.

'It's vertical toast,' someone observed. 'That would make a great title for a book.' I agreed with enthusiasm—who wouldn't want to read 'Vertical Toast’? The idea was quickly disregarded, but today I was issued a title challenge on Facebook that I thought was great fun when an author friend, Jeanette O'Hagan, tagged me to participate in a writing game called Eight Terrible titles.

The rules: You have to let your cursor fall onto a spot within your manuscript eight times. Each phrase it falls on becomes a (usually) terrible title that we can all have a laugh over.

Here are my two favourites from Jeanette's 'Terrible Titles.'

     She Handed Her a Torch (kind of terrible).
     The Days Before the Wedding (kind of intriguing).

And from author friend, Paula Vince:

     The Pale, Blotchy Face of a Girl (certainly on the terrible side).
     A Sample of What You'll Get (I like it—this title would surely make me pick up the book).

But my absolute favourite title would have to be Meredith Resce's:

     At the Fancy Dining Table (not only would I read it, I want a seat there).

So here are my Eight Terrible Titles, taken from my current work in progress:

     1. The Other Three Men.
     2. His Background Was Shady.
     3. Not Phobic.
     4. On an Upturned Bucket.
     5. A Second to Appreciate.
     6. Suffering in Paradise.
     7. On this Chook Chaser.
     8. Through Palm Trees.

I can see some great adventures in these titles. So, come on, author friends, add a few of your own 'Terrible Titles' to the comments below. You never know, one of them may become a great source of inspiration. I have to sign off now so I can construct a story plan for 'On this Chook Chaser.'

Chook Chaser:
A clapped out motorbike. A trail or motocross bike. Taken from motorbikes used on farms used to 'chase' chickens.

Author - Rose Dee:
Rose, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her first novel, Back to Resolution.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and desire to produce exciting and contemporary stories of faith for women.
Beyond Resolution and A New Resolution are the second and third books in the Resolution series.
Rose’s debut novel Back to Resolution won the Bookseller’s Choice award at the 2012 CALEB Awards, while A New Resolution won the 2013 CALEB Prize for Fiction.
She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel, written in conjunction with three other outstanding Australian authors.
Rose resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband, young son, and mischievous pup, Noodle.


  1. I like On an Upturned Bucket. That sounds cool!

    Mine were:
    1. A reasonable distance
    2. Looking nervous
    3. Stop talking to them
    4. Leftover bottle of coke
    5. I said quit it!
    6. Deeply into my eyes
    7. Famous herbal tea
    8. Picking me up afterwards.

    1. Leftover bottle of coke - I'm intrigued. ☺
      Yes - I have all sorts of story vision for my upturned bucket. Lol.

  2. Thanks for that Rose. They would make great writing prompts.Who wouldn't want to read "On an upturned bucket!" Here are mine:

    1. Back the grandson
    2. Towards the exit
    3. To evaporate
    4. Leftover Chicken Cacciatore
    5. Being lifted
    6. Broken like matchsticks
    7. Days making sketches
    8. Melting doll

    Maybe we should set a challenge that we have to write a story based on one of our terrible titles and submit it somewhere. Thanks for the laugh.

    1. Writing this was so much fun. Looks like I need to short story the bucket as well as a few others.
      Broken like Matchsticks is really good.

  3. What is the plot for 'His Background was Shady'. I'm interested in that one!
    That was funny Rose. I'll let you know what happens 'At the Fancy Dining Table'.

    1. Yes please - I am sure the fancy dining table has some dramatic tales to tell.
      I think Iola liked His Background was Shady too. I may have to come up with a shady story to go with it.

  4. Our next challenge might be coming up with blurbs for some of these gems. Who knows what we might have unleashed?

    1. Lol. It's certainly setting a challenge.

  5. The next challenge is taking these eight titles and turning them into the shortest possible short story.

    His background was shady but not phobic. Still, it took him a second to appreciate
    the suffering in paradise caused by the other three men racing on this chook chaser through the palm trees towards an upturned bucket.

    Sorry, had to change one word.

    1. Lol. I couldn't top that. Visions of three men on a chook chaser has had me in giggles all day. And why were they racing towards that bucket????!!!!😂

  6. Love your post, Rose. And thanks for the mention.

    It's been fun playing Terrible Titles and seeing everyone's answers. I think 'On This Chook Chaser' would make a great title for a book - memoir or fiction. And I don' t mind 'Suffering in Paradise' either - intriguing.

    Here's my full list taken from my current NaNoWriMo list :)

    1. A Sideways Hug
    2. Southridge Village
    3. Just Below Them
    4. Shrouded In Shadows
    5. they slid a few ninas
    6. She handed her a torch
    7. The Days Before the Wedding
    8. Ease the Pain of your Bruises

    1. Would have to be a memoir, Jeanette. Oh - the adventures one could have on a chook chaser.
      Thanks for starting this giggle-fest. It's been heaps of fun. Xo

  7. Great post Rose. Made me laugh! Thank you. It does look like a fun game to play - so I shall have a go myself. I have to say that being a writer - titles do grab me. In fact - one of my works in progress is a novel with a title of a photograph of me and my husband dubbed by my brother. I shan't tell you what it is - but I can tell you it was great fodder for my imagination and a story took off! :)

    1. I admit that I usually have trouble settling on titles - but these crazy ones have sparked my imagination, so I certainly understand a photo doing that too. You have sparked my curiosity - can't wait to see what you have written.

  8. Good fun. Suffering in Paradise is intriguing.

    These are the ones I got when I did it. (using the Aussie superhero novella I'm currently working on).

    1) Darren’s Heart Beat Faster.
    2) The Mug Slipped Free.
    3) Skewered a Mushroom.
    4) Cringe Like a School Boy.
    5) All the Wrong People.
    6) Call Kylie in the Morning.
    7) There’s No One Around.
    8) Find The Drone.