“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.