What do Golfers and Writers have in common?

Golfing child's play

“Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it’s open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.” – Dave Barry

We decided it was time to introduce LT to the salesperson’s staple, golf. Or at least we decided it was time to take him to the driving range. It is an outdoor activity, but one somewhat protected from the summer’s sun. Once there, Lamont placed a ball on the tee and handed LT a child-sized driver. The club might look like a putt-putt club that should consider laying off carbs for a while but it was nevertheless adorable in LT’s hands. Lamont then wrapped his own hands around LT’s and demonstrated proper form. Tap. The club connected sending the ball all of a foot or so. LT, emboldened by such a clear display of his natural talent, announced he no longer needed any additional parental support. “I do it myself.”

Lamont and I moved over to give LT enough space to continue to master his long game while we alternated taking some swings of our own in another stall with the supervision of our budding Rory McIlroy. “Is this right?” LT asked. The ball was on the rubber tee, but LT now gripped the club upside down. Not waiting for an answer, he swung shaft at the ball. Whiff. He swung again. The breeze created by the shaft as it passed was enough to knock the ball off the tee but not much farther.

“No honey. Hold it from this end.” I flipped the club over and handed it back to him. “See? Watch what Daddy does.” Lamont approached his own ball and sent it flying with a whack-ping. LT grinned as I returned the ball to the tee. He then proceeded to run toward the ball, swinging the club as a weapon, as if recreating a scene from the movie, Happy Gilmore. However, I should mention he also did so starting from the wrong direction.

I picked up the ball he’d been so kind to send my way (thankfully, he still has to work on the force of his follow through), depositing it once again in front of him. “No honey. Like this. Watch Mommy this time.” Tap. “Okay. You try.”

“Like this?” The club head was on the ground. His body faced the correct way. But… the flat face of the club head was now pointed away from the ball. Once again, he swung before I could stop him. Chaos theory was demonstrated in real-time as the driver’s curved back-end made contact with the ball. It is appropriate that LT’s age is four.

What do the Golfer and Writer have in common? They both can benefit from a good Titleist. (ba dum dum) Did I not tell you I enjoy bad puns

If you are now done groaning over my very creative segue, I am happy to report that I have entered into the back nine of my current manuscript’s draft in progress (actually I am further than that, but back five doesn’t exactly work with my metaphor). This means it is probably time to start considering giving it, at least, a working title beyond PGA2 (not to be confused with the Professional Golf Association).

According to publishing experts, the best titles contain no more than two or three ideas and include at least once PINC component: Promise, Intrigue, Need, or Content. They should also include precise nouns and/or action verbs and the best titles also make you think about their meaning once when you first see it on the cover and again when you finish the book. Finally, you want to make them stand out in their genre, but easy enough to remember (and be able to say) when it comes time for your reader to recommend a book to a friend. However, even when you follow the expert’s instructions, coming up with a good title is harder work than you might think.

The Fair & Foul’s original working title was Progressions of Titan. While I was writing, I thought it was a pretty great title. Less than three ideas? Check. Who or what was the Titan? Initial intrigue – check. My story contained characters who sought to be leaders of industry and improve the human condition only to become modern Titans in the mythic sense. Double meaning – check. Progression is development toward a more advanced state. Precise action verb – check. I performed several google searches and Amazon searches. No other similarly titled books were out there. Unique – check.

Then I said the title out loud to a room of my friends and family.

Always say the title out loud before you settle on it. I thought I’d understood the rules, however, the look on the faces, and awkward “er that’s nice”s of my impromptu focus group was proof enough that, much like LT and his golf swing, my title could benefit from a little more work. It took several more attempts, but eventually I found the one that stuck. Thinking I knew the rules wasn’t enough. I still had to practice.

You never know what you don’t know until you, at first, try.


33 thoughts on “What do Golfers and Writers have in common?

    1. You’ve spent months if not years pouring out tens of thousands of words. Now condense it down to four words that both indicates everything and gives away nothing. Go!


      1. That was it! How did you know? No. The title of the second book in the series is “Oathbreakers” but there are a bazillion of them already. Titles usually come easily to me, but I’m going to have to work on this bunch. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is so cute. And I love puns. (Even bad ones.) Saying things (titles, names, excerpts) is always a good idea. Kind of a must. Also, Dave Barry. 💖 So pretty much love everything about this post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is amazing how something that looks so right in print can sound so awful out loud.

      My little rookie golfer loved every minute of his experience, although I am not sure the same could be said about those in the stalls near us.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. See, I don’t think that’s a bad pun at all. It’s actually pretty epic. Then again, I’ve been called the king of bad puns myself, so maybe I’m not the right person to judge.

    All I know is, I laughed.

    Ahh, the title conundrum. When I originally wrote No Time For Kings, it was called Stabbing Nature. I still have friends and family tell me that would have been a better title. I do like it, but prefer NTFK. Who knows? I’ve always been my own worst critic.


  3. I had my title long before the words … called my blog the same … it’s still unique three years on (just goes to show how few read the blog!) … said it out loud many times to anyone who makes the mistake of asking what I’m writing. Mind you after ‘Dan’s’ book title thing ‘Blue Banana in Verona’ is going to play a while in my mind though not so good out loud!


  4. It’s so hard coming up with titles…and I didn’t know all the rules. Thanks for sharing. And I’m glad your little one liked it. Just this afternoon I gave my four year old a bat to try to hit a softball. It didn’t go so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to labor over titles for my blog posts, but I began to notice that specifics stated in a twisted way brought more readers to my blog. I’ve never thought about how I title, I just tee up something a bit silly, a bit direct– and then yell “fore” as I hit publish. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Got to love kids and new ‘things’ I’m looking forward to the boy experiencing new sports. So far swimming has gone down like a sack of shit.

    As for titles – I’d never thought of saying it out loud and as it stands my one word working title probably isn’t going to cut the mustard. *scratches head*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t envy you with the YA one word title trend.

      Let’s just say LTs first swim lessons should have come with ear plugs, and not just the kind that protect your inner ear from water.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I like to write (and talk) a lot, so condensing things down to a title is very difficult for me.

      Ha! That’s a pretty apt description of the range in my circles as well and is a microscopic part of the reason I am exposing my kids to it now. It’s never too early to start learning how the business world works.


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