Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's in a Name? Bad Working Titles...

The crooked door at The Crooked Door in Albion, NY (photo by Jan Siebold)

  I admire people who come up with catchy names and titles.  We recently had a delicious lunch with friends at a restaurant called "The Crooked Door" in Albion, NY.  A favorite local restaurant was called Billy Ogden's because it was located on the corner of William and Ogden Streets in Buffalo.  On vacation we saw a laundromat called "The Missing Sock".  Clever. 
  My first two children's novels had really bad working titles.  I called my first book The Assignment. The problems with that title are too obvious to even write about here.  Luckily it did very well as Rope Burn.  The original title of my second book was O.L.D. Friend.  The letters stood for "On-Line Discussion", which referred to the premise of the book.  My editor pointed out that there would be confusion over what to call the book when saying its title out loud.  After a telephone brainstorming session we decided to call the book Doing Time Online
  After doing a little research about working titles I don't feel quite so bad.  It seems that Eric Carle's beloved book The Very Hungry Caterpillar started out as A Week with Willi the Worm.  John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men went by the title Something that Happened.  Couldn't that be the title of any book?  Would the movie E.T have done as well if its title had not been changed from A Boy's Life?  Even The Beatles came up with a clunker of a title now and then.  Their hit song Yesterday was originally called Scrambled Egg.
  Thank you to the editors who see past those bad titles and are willing to read further.  Hopefully the name of my blog earns me a few kudos.  Jan's Pencil Point.  A pencil has a point and my blog has a point.  Get it?