Sunday, January 15, 2012

Help! Should I Change the Title of Manuscript 2?

46ยบ ~ beautiful, beautiful sun, strong breeze trying to become a wind, forced to re-drape the window due to the return of the robin (aka, my personal Angry Bird)

This morning, another rejection for manuscript #2 arrived, so, based on much advice last month, I've been sitting with the book and trying to decide how I can improve it. 

I've just spent the last hour re-reading the book.  I'm at a loss for re-ordering the poems AGAIN.  If there is some magic key that will unlock the "right" way to do this, I don't have it.  Grrrrrrr....

One suggestion from all of the great advice was that I might have been trying to do too much with the title.  It has been "In a World Made of Such Weather as This."  Several people cautioned against using such a long title, but I was certain that was IT.  Now, I'm less certain.  So, in my re-reading for poem order, I also collected some new phrases that might work as a title.  The interesting part of this exercise was reflecting on the phrases and seeing if they covered the book as a whole.

With these phrases, I created a poll (see right column at top), and I would LOVE to know what you all think, Dear Readers.  Please vote!  The poll will be open until noon on 1/22/12.  (I'm getting the book ready for some February deadlines.)

To vote, you might want to know more about the book.  Here are some thoughts.

1.  It remains rooted in the Midwest, the landscape and the people.
2.  It explores death through elegies for that landscape and those people.
3.  There are a lot of birds in the book.
4.  There is a lot about the wind in the book (see #1).
5.  There are some made-up saints and their penitents.
6.  A glacial erratic is a large rock moved by a glacier, so that the Midwest is dotted with these looming giants that don't belong geologically, but can't be moved (i.e. we are a stubborn people).
7.  There are many poems about the body and mortality.
8.  There is a lot of grass in the book, and not that 'hippie-hay' kind of grass.  Prairie grass, my friends.

Okay, please vote.


12 comments:

Tawnysha Greene said...

Love the poll idea! I like a couple of the titles, but wondered if a small change might improve one of your options. What about What Blooms in Marrow (taking out "the")? Of course, I haven't read your collection, so I don't know how well this would fit, but making titles a bit tighter in taking out certain articles and such does wonders sometimes (just a little something I learned from Pam Uschuk last year :). Good luck!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Tawnysha.

Justin Evans said...

I can't say what might or might not be a good title (being a big believer in epiphany when it comes to book titles), but I have an idea as to what might jar something loose.

Try to create a few (two or three) single word titles.

Then try to create a title from a series of nouns which are peripheral to the subject matter in the book.

Try to incorporate some of those single words with the titles you made from a series of nouns.

After, see if you can create a title using an action verb which works well with those other titles and/or words.

Kathleen said...

I voted.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the advice, Justin!

Thanks, K.!

Molly said...

Sandy, even though I'm just a rookie I voted. I wished I could've voted for 2 (maybe I could have? - I didn't try). I like the idea of glacial erratics, but that title would require a poem or prologue that explained (somehow, poetically) what they are since many would not know without that definition. That was my reservation in choosing Glacial Erratics, but it would've been my second choice.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Molly! I appreciate you.

Luke Johnson said...

I think "What Blooms in the Marrow" is quite lovely--

Kristin said...

I know that the current wisdom and fashion calls for shorter titles, even one word titles. But I'm drawn to longer titles, both as a reader and a writer. If I don't know the writer or don't have a recommendation, I choose titles because they're evocative. It's tough for a short title to be evocative (although I love "Prairie Sacraments!). Almost impossible for 1 word to evoke too much, I think.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Luke.

Kristin, I agree!

StephanieV said...

I voted--but what about
In a World of Such Weather
or
Such Weather as This

Good luck; I know you'll find the right title.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Stephanie! I'm to the point where I'm SURE there is just one missing element that is holding this book back. Hah! I know how ridiculous that sounds. :)