Thursday, May 5, 2011

Possibly the Best Title Ever

Credit to Anita for asking the question.

My response to that question was too long for the comments, and I haven't blogged anything except that self-congratulatory thing about my mad Twitter skillz in something resembling forever, so here you go.

The best title for a kids book has got to be:

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy

Here's why:

1. You know what the book is about, which is a good thing.

2. The name Lamar leads one to believe that the main character is black, and, let's face it, this is still fairly unique in the kidlit arena. Unique is interesting.

3. Pranks are always fun to read about.

4. Questions: What exactly is a "bad prank" and how in the world does performing such a thing garner a trophy?

5. The use of the term "bubba-sized" is a good indication of the kind of voice we're going to be exposed to in the novel and it's a voice I'd like to hang out with for a while.

6. We know the ending (or at least, we can assume the ending has to do with winning the trophy) and now the reason to read is to find out how this seemingly inexplicable thing happens. This is one of my favorite story structures. TV shows use it all the time: The victim is seen lying on top of a high-rise in a pool of blood and then the story starts some time earlier and we watch to find out how such a thing happened. Love it.

7. There also seems to be a story of redemption buried in the title. A kid who performs "bad pranks" does not typically win anything, unless withering glares can be counted as winning. My guess: Lamar is a lovable troublemaker who finally comes out on top. And who doesn't love it when that happens?

Anyway, I haven't read it yet, but I will, just because of the title.


Anita said...

I'm gonna read it for the title, too! Yay, Lamar...and actually I was thinking of a white kid in a southern trailer park...don't know why. AND I'm going to email you with title ideas for my next book...I'm really having trouble with it.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Just so everyone knows, I was no help to Anita on the title thing, and I hate the title of my current work-in-progress.

So what I'm saying is, I can recognize a good title, but can't make one of my own.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I like your reasoning.

I cannot title to save my life, but perhaps your breakdown will help when I next think about it. I especially like the first one. That gets me every time.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Must read this.


crystal allen said...

Hey Paul,

Titles are tough. LAMAR had several before this one stuck. I really like your breakdown of the title! And you're really not that far off from being spot on! Good luck with your WIP, and everyone else, too!

Crystal Allen

Elliot Grace said...

Hey Murph, love the break down of the title. And like you, I renamed mine three times, only to find out that the one I selected had just been used by a writer with far more reach in the literary world than I changed it again. Still not sure if it's right, but it's done!

Thanks for stopping by my blog:)


Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Our library at school just processed this book. I'm on it.

Ms. Yingling said...

This was a fun book! I wish they had had Lamar on the cover, though!