Saturday, November 11, 2006

Title Search

Here's a title-and-hook-line practice game: sit in any place in your house where you're surrounded by things with words on them (garage, storage room, library, home office, etc.) Make a list of random words that you see around you (don't take titles off the spines of books.)

Here's my list of words from the garage:

Old Locks (hand-written on cardboard box)
Wonder Wind (extension cord winder; "er" from "winder" is worn off)
Running Men (shoe box)
Just for Thought (old note stuck to bulletin board)
Venezia Spell (paint chip folder)
Landmark (fan box)
Without Rain (cracked CD case with fragment of insert, Enya? maybe)
Nom 166 (Dell computer box)
Gem of Truth (one or the kids' RPG cards)
Just a Click Away (end of photo package)
To Her Desires (beginning of last line on cover copy of old novel I'm reading)

Now, take your title words and imagine a story for them -- doesn't have to be a novel, just a story idea -- and write a premise or hook line for it:

Old Locks: Grandma meets the three bears.
Wonder Wind: How fast will Timmy's new bike go?
Running Men: In this race, there is no second place.
Just for Thought: Before you leave me, let me tell you why you shouldn't.
Venezia Spell: Never cast a stone spell in a glass castle.
Landmark: What could have scorched through the corn field like that?Without Rain: Forty nights in the devil's desert.
Nom 166: 500 more days and the AntiChrist arrives.
Gem of Truth: John and Marcia must save mystic gem from murderous thief.
Just a Click Away: Falling in cyberlove.
To Her Desires: Everything must be, or else.

You can also pick up title words and phrases from the Yellow Pages or telephone directory, things you hear people say, billboards, street signs or greeting cards. Look around you right now: what words do you see that you can make into a title and hook line? Post yours in comments.


  1. The Original Rider (tarot card box)
    Personal Accounts (check book box)
    Star (typing paper)
    Prochain rendez-vous (dentist card)
    11:00 Mr. Mahler (appointment jotted down on my calendar)

    The Original Rider - Paul Revere Jr. has a lot to live up to...
    Personal Accounts - When Judith dies, her family finds out just how she divvied up her fortune.
    Star - she could sing, she could dance, she had a straight nose...she was a Star!
    Prochain rendez-vous - The met in France, and made arrangements to meet again. In NYC. On 9-11. (guess where...)
    11:00 Mr. Mahler - He was a famous composer, and every day at 11 he sat down to play music.

  2. Mindtrap (an optical illusion game for the mind)
    Mortein (A can of fly spray)
    Double A (a ream of printer paper)
    Philadelphia (a plastic tub for cream cheese that I use for snackery)
    Aerial fitness (A step machine for ignoring)

    Mindtrap - The professor realised too late he'd left the key to the deadlocked bathroom in his office.
    Mortein - The geeks actually turned up to the prom...
    Double A - The size she wished was lower in the alphabet.
    Philadelphia - They had trouble maturing at the cheese factory.
    Aerial fitness - a pert aerobics instructor is tossed out of a plane.

    Loved the Old Locks!

  3. Waimea Canyon (photograph on wall): Burned-out city couple awakened by hike in Paradise
    Sleeping Dragon (incense burner): Every time Danny the Dragon took a nap, he set his blanket on fire
    Empty Bookcase: I stole my boyfriend's books and I'm not sorry
    Sleeping Cat (live): Cat who astrally projects until she hears a can opener and is snapped back into her corporeal body
    Laundry Basket: Will Wendy confront Peter about the bloody garments shoved in the laundry along with a dangling, bloodied hook?

  4. I'm too much of a DBA for 'Old Locks' to be a pleasant title.

    'Wonder Wind' struck a chord, though. Hope you don't mind my stealing it.

    Where I'm seated right now, the only written words are book and CD titles. Let's see:

    London Calling

    Secret Treaties

    Piano Concertos

    Luna de Fuego

    Let It Bleed

  5. Anonymous2:04 PM

    The Navigator (box of printer paper)
    Thesaurus (from short bio of Peter Mark Roget)
    Evidence (orchid-colored legal pads)
    Yankee Candle (candle in a jar)
    Puffs (tissue)

    The Navigator—when her passenger, a time-traveling hit man, dies en route, a Dimensional Navigator must complete his mission—without knowing the identity of the victim.

    The Saurus—reclusive English professor’s life is turned upside down when the remains of a dinosaur wearing a golden harness are found beneath his rose garden.

    Evidence—a beautiful attorney’s naked body is found in a locked police evidence room.

    Yankee Candle—disgruntled Mets fan plans to blow up the rival stadium.

    Puffs—paranormal investigator probes a plague of spontaneous human combustion.

  6. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Doug Wuz Here (written on the leg of my jeans by Doug in French class, accompanied by a anime-style self portrait of himself)
    But he didn't get any further--and that's what the police are interested in.

  7. Anonymous6:57 PM

    Death is on Pen (from an election advertisement with another page over half of the words)
    Sunset Rose (a favorite tea flavor)
    finechina (sticker on my hubby's guitar case)

    Death is on Pen - Imagine you had the power to write - or erase- in the book of life. What would you do?
    Sunset Rose - A heartwearming love-story about a cowboy and the vampire who loved him.
    finechina - what's a girl to do when pawning the family heirlooms still doesn't give her enough to pay the bills?

    Bah. They're pretty bad!! Still, fun. :)

  8. Anonymous8:36 PM

    You guys are already way too good at this game. :)

    Sam wrote: 11:00 Mr. Mahler

    That one made me flash on a petite female psychiatrist and the last appointment of her day: A pro wrestler (nicknamed "The Mauler," naturally.)

    Jaye wrote: Aerial fitness

    Hey, an aerobics class on a low-grav planet.

    Charlene wrote: Sleeping Dragon

    Prefaced by Snoring Tiger? Lol.

    Dean wrote: 'Wonder Wind' struck a chord, though. Hope you don't mind my stealing it.

    Absolutely not. Steal away, pal.

    Raine wrote: The Navigator

    Great premise for this one, R. Also The Saurus -- clever as hell.

    Becky wrote: Doug Wuz Here

    I love where you found the words and the premise you created for them. Write this one!

    Jess wrote: Death is on Pen - Imagine you had the power to write - or erase- in the book of life. What would you do?

    Whoa, very chilling.

  9. Wow, these are really cool, and resulted in some cool ideas!

    Erin K.


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