Write It, Work It, Publish It™

I’m at a loss for an appropriate title for my novel. So far I came up with 5, none of which I’m ‘really’ feeling – the sad thing is, the title of a novel I’m currently editing fits perfect. The writer refuses to let me steal it though. Sigh.

My editor sent me the wonderful excerpt below that was published on Writer’s Almanac… I think I’m going to mix up a shaker full of Manhattans …anyone?

Her First Novel – by James Tate

When Connie finished her novel she came
over to my place to celebrate. I mixed up a
shaker full of Manhattans and we sat out on the
porch. “Here’s to… What’s the title?” I
asked. “Well, that’s a problem. The title’s
kind of awful. It’s called THE KING OF SLOPS.”
“Gosh,” I said, “that’s unfortunate. I think
you can probably do better than that.” We took
a drink and reflected. “It’s about a hospital
orderly.” “Ouch,” I said. “It doesn’t sound
very promising, does it?” “Is there a love
angle?” I asked hopefully. “No,” she replied,
“everybody hates him. He’s a creep.” “Then
Why…?” “I don’t know. I got started and
I couldn’t stop. I wanted to kill him off,
but I just couldn’t. He’s the loneliest guy
in the world.” “It’s beginning to sound pretty
good to me,” I said. “How’s it end? Upbeat,
I hope?” “That’s another problem I’m afraid.
He tries to marry a corpse, and when the priest
finds out he throws him out the twelfth-story
window.” Tears were streaming down Connie’s
face. I was desperate to find anything com-
forting to say. “Well,” I said, “you could
call it THE GOOD PRIEST.” Connie smiles, and
the wake continued long into the night.

“Her First Novel” by James Tate, from Memoir of the Hawk. © The Ecco Press, 2001.


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