A title by any other name

Roulette wheel
Looking for a title for a story? I was asked to provide a list of different titles for my story about Matthew and Liza. Google kindly pointed me toward some romance novel title generators:

Western Romance Title Generator

Romance Title Generator

Or this one, which came up with the catchy title, “The Greek Tycoon’s One-Night Plan for Tax Purposes.” I think that one’s my favorite.

If you need more than a title, you might try this one, which has generators for titles, plots, character flaws, and a horde of other novel elements.

Snow crystals on carWhile random generators might help spark the creative process, what works best is to find a title that expresses what is unique about this particular story. Finding the right title is not like playing a roulette wheel, more like picking a snowflake out of a blizzard.

Writing World has a useful article on finding the right title for your novel.

Signs of progress

"my way" (3363960572)

My story about Matthew and Liza needed some revising, and then more revising. And then some tweaking. And then re-tweaking. This is not a bad thing. Trust me when I say it needed the work. I am grateful that I had a kind editor who could point out the things that needed to be tweaked and revised.

Now it has a publication date. It should be coming out in January. This gives the production staff the time they need to work their magic on it.

But first, they need me to do more work. I need to think up some exciting titles that will tell the reader at a glance how fabulous, dazzling, and covered-in-glitter-amazing my story is. Or at least titles that will give them a hint what the story is about and rouse their curiosity so they have to click the link to see what it’s about.

Manuscript Matchmaker Contest Results

Enfant écrivant-Henriette Browne
Harlequin announced the final results of the Manuscript Matchmaker contest. Out of 132 entries in the first round, the editors offered contracts to 6 writers. I feel very privileged to be one of that number. It was an intense and amazing experience.

Congratulations to Angie DickenAnna ZoggVictoria W. Austin, Whitney Bailey and Mollie Campbell! I look forward to reading your stories.

I really do believe that everyone who entered got something good out of the experience. The chance to get personalized, specific feedback from an experienced editor was fabulous.  I hope all the authors who did not final in the contest take the opportunity to revise their manuscripts. In the forum posts, I was able to learn some details about their plots and characters, and these stories sounded like ones I would love to read.

Writing vs. Playing


“You didn’t really want to use this laptop, did you?”

Sometimes, it’s hard to convince those around you that writing is more important than playing with them. I am trying a compromise. Five minutes play time, twenty-five minutes staring at the computer muttering under my breath and deleting content.

Link du jour: Harlequin Forums. There are some interesting discussions on writing, with tips on how to write for Harlequin and information on their latest writing contests.

The Call

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you write a book, you want to see it published.

We want our words read, want the reader to weep or laugh at the right places, want someone to put down the last page and be glad they took the time to travel through a world we created.

“Would I scribble in my room if no one would see my words except me and maybe a cat? I don’t think so… I like to be read.” – Julia Quinn, RWA 15

I have always written, but I have not always finished what I started. Once I started to finish the novels, the itch of curiosity needed to be scratched. Was this story any good? Would someone like it if they read it? I started sending the first chapters out to contests hoping for impartial feedback. Contests are a great way to learn how to take criticism, but they are also a source of confusion.

“This is fabulous! Publish this NOW!” – Contest Judge #1

“It’s going to take a lot of work to whip this puppy into shape.” – Contest Judge #2  (exact same story)

Once my stories started to final in contests, I got feedback from agents and editors. While their feedback was helpful, it was very high level. They told me the stories needed work, but not where the problems were exactly.

“I liked this story, apart from the hero, heroine, and the plot.” -NY editor

Obviously, I needed to find some way to improve, but how could I get better if I did not know what I was doing wrong exactly?

So when I heard about Harlequin’s Manuscript Matchmaker contest for the Love Inspired Historical line of books, and learned that the editors were offering personalized feedback, I decided this was exactly what I needed. I sent in the first three chapters of a story, with a synopsis, and a kind editor wrote back pointing out the strengths and the weaknesses of the manuscript.

Woo hoo!

Um, wait. You want to read the rest of it as well?

Okay, so I would get feedback on a full manuscript. That would be even better. I wrote every morning before work, while my inner editor was still asleep. And I managed to finish a 70,000 word novel in 4-1/2 months. By the time I finished, I could not judge whether it was good or whether it was complete, absolute, and utter tripe. But it was done, so I patted myself on the back and went to work on the next novel. I decided the best way to deal with waiting for feedback was to concentrate on the Bright Shiny Idea that had come to visit me while I was struggling with finishing this story.

I need the structure and terror of deadlines. – Mary Jo Putney, RWA 15

I gave myself until August 15th to finish the first draft of my new story, figuring that the editors would probably start sending out feedback on the full manuscripts by that time. I knew that getting a rejection would probably damage my self-esteem enough to throw me out of the writing groove for a day or two, so I was aiming to get the ms. to a stopping place before then.

Except… last week, I got a call. Oh, a New York number. Must be another recruiter wanting me to apply for a temp job at Intel.

But it wasn’t a recruiter. Instead, it was kind Shana Asaro, from Harlequin, saying that she liked my story. And wanted to publish it.

That was a surreal moment. It still doesn’t seem quite real. I think I babbled something urbane and sophisticated, like “Oh wow!” but I’m not quite sure.

It’s funny. I had planned out exactly how to handle rejection. I had never planned how to handle acceptance. I had thought that good news could take care of itself.

Note to self: plan for success.

Confetti in Toronto