Monday, January 20, 2014

Help! Bonnie Needs a Real Title

Help! I'm almost finished with Bonnie, and I still haven't come up with a title. I feel like I'm stuck in a bit of a rut, so I thought I'd throw some ideas out and see what you guys think:







I know it's tough to evaluate a title when you have no idea what the story's about, so here's a query-style summary I came up with on the fly as well as the first page:

The Summary When seventeen-year-old Karina Hart gets a text from an unknown sender--at pearl st bridge. its over--she doesn't assume a race ended. She assumes the sender's about to jump. And sure enough, when she gets to the bridge, she finds Matthew Singer, who's standing on the railing, considering the drop. Before their lives went down the toilet, they used to be friends, and Karina sees Matthew as a chance to redeem herself.

Fifteen-year-old Karina Hart knows as soon as she gets home that her sister is dead. Still, she can't quite believe it when she finds Lily in the bathroom, an empty bottle of sleeping pills clutched loosely in her hand. Lily promised her she wouldn't kill herself, and like a fool, Karina believed her. If Karina hadn't been so stupid, Lily would still be alive.

As the front story moves forward and the back story moves backward, Karina realizes why she feels compelled to save Matthew from himself and, more importantly, where she needs to go from here. But knowing and doing are two very different things, and Matthew's life isn't the only one that hangs in the balance. If she can't figure this out, she might lose her mind, literally.*

The First Page I get the text on Monday night, in the locker room at the Y. My phone chirps in my pocket, but I don’t pull it out. My parents would assume I’m either in the pool or on the road, and none of my friends bother to contact me anymore. I towel off my hair, then stuff my things in my bag. It isn’t until I’m trudging out the door, the last one to leave (as always), that I slide my phone out of my pocket. I don’t recognize the number, but the message makes me trip:

at pearl st bridge. its over

A dozen explanations race through my head--a car died, a race ended, someone just had a baby on the side of the road--but the only one that makes sense is also the only explanation I can’t think out loud.

I flick back to the number and remind myself to breathe. The digits gleam in the dim light, but I still can’t place them. The number isn’t in my contacts, and the sender didn’t sign.

Whoever sent the text didn’t mean to send it to me.

At least that’s what I tell myself as I half jog, half stumble across the parking lot to Lily’s car--my car--the car she left behind. For the first time since I inherited it, I have a hard time getting the key into the lock.

“Stupid key,” I mutter even though I know my hands are trembling. As I climb into the car, the only things I can think about are those six little words: at pearl st bridge. its over.

I know it's almost as tough to evaluate a title based on a few hundred words, but if you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them! (And if you have any other ideas for the title, feel free to throw them out!)

*Please note that I realize how vague and mostly unhelpful that third paragraph is. It's just hard to summarize two diverging plotlines in a single paragraph, and since this isn't an official query, I don't want to give myself a headache:)


Cristin Bruggeman said...

I wonder if you couldn't play off of "Pearl Street Bridge"

Bridge to Yesterday
or something with Pearl Street

Good luck. And Happy Birthday!

S. Kyle Davis said...

I would go with poignant and super simple. Perhaps "After You"?

Rena said...

Oh Titles, my bane!

All I can do is throw out some ideas (sorry, I'll probably just muddy the water).

Life In Your Wake


To Solid Ground

When My World Broke

A Three Second Drop

Of course, I could just keep going, but I'll quickly sound really trite and I doubt that's what you want. (though I also like the Pearl Street Bridge).

JeffO said...

I'm with Cristin. If the bridge plays into this at all beyond that first chapter (good first page, btw, I like it), I would aim to use that in the title.

I'm not crazy about 'Before and After', and adding words to that start makes it cumbersome. The rest just don't quite do it for me, either, sorry. Go for the bridge!

Ellie said...

But I also like the bridge idea maybe
Over Pearl Street Bridge
or something

Jessie Oliveros said...

Another bridge one:

Water Under the Bridge


Saving Him, Losing You

Sister, Savior

This Time I'll Save You

(totally going with the saving themes here)

And my all-time favorite:

When My Microwave Took Over the World

(What? You don't like that one? Fine!)

Jessie Oliveros said...

My Krista faves are

From Here on Out

Where We Go From Here

Anonymous said...

Time seems to be the strong factor here, and I like Before and After, but I wonder if it's a little more dramatic to use something as simple as NOW?

Ann Noser said...

Maybe it's too obvious, but why not




Candice C said...

I like your WHERE WE GO FROM HERE and what Ellie suggested OVER PEARL STREET BRIDGE I'd read either of those :)

Steve Moran said...

... After You Went Away.

Refers to the death of her sister, infers that this influences what she does with the Matthew situation - and sounds just a little mysterious.

Alison Heller said...

It's Over
Before It's Over
After It's Over
It's Never Over

Why I am Here
Why I Went

Peace, Lily

Lily Leaves

The Center of Me

I'll tell you why / I'll tell you when


DMcWild said...

Hi Krista,

Here's my kick at the can.





Megan Reyes said...

ME AFTER YOU sounds great!! I think it can describe Katrina after her sister's death AND Matthew after rekindling a relationship with Katrina (and... probably Katrina after Matthew too).

I think there's a lot of meaning there. Also, the simple "FROM HERE" could work too.

Niki Moss said...

Sounds wonderful! As far as the title goes: I like From Here on Out. Gives the impression of beginning in one point and rippling out in both directions from there, which is what the story seems to do. My 2nd choice would be Where We ago From Here.

A.J. Cattapan said...

I like "Me After You," but there's already an adult romance novel with that name.

I also like "Where We Go From Here."

The story sounds great, by the way!

Anonymous said...

WHERE WE GO FROM HERE actually sounds perfect, Krista. I know that whatever it's called, this is going to be a great book.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

What an overwhelming response. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't even tell you how much your ideas and well wishes have meant. What a lovely birthday present.

Alexa D. said...

I like ME AFTER YOU, as I think it nails the "Next Five Years"-esque structure you have (so cool!), and it reminds me of the movie Me Without You--great movie, and the title in particular has always stuck with me.

I'll noodle on titles and if I think of anything else, I'll email you :) (also if you need CPs, let me know! I really love this concept)

Ryan Hancock said...

Hey Krista!
Happy Birthday?
I loved the concept and the first page. Sooo excited to read it.
My favorite of yours was Me after You.
I really love the idea of one story going forward and the other backward. What about titling it:
Ya know cause of the "words" in the text and the story going backwards....I'm gonna stop now. :)

Dana E said...

I really like Me After You, too!

Also, The Bridge.

Good luck!

Alison said...

Happy Birthday (a day late?), Krista!

So, I like FROM HERE ON OUT. As someone said, ME AFTER YOU is great, but already a romance novel title. I do like the "bridges" theme, the connection among all of these characters. Could that be related to "connection" or WHAT CONNECTS US ? I'm just throwing things out there. Or simply BRIDGES?

Keep us posted!

Suzi said...

I like Where We Go From Here.

Have you decided yet? Sounds like a terrific story-one I'd read.

Lori L. Clark said...

I like After Before (Since you said the story moves backwards.)

Heather said...

I like Where We Go From Here the best. Fun!

Susan Adrian said...

I like ME AFTER YOU. :)

Tara Dairman said...

I find ME AFTER YOU the most compelling. Happy belated birthday!

Ben Spendlove said...

So, I like ME AFTER YOU, but I don't love it. The ME and YOU just don't sit quite right. I like the idea, because that's what the book is about. (Karina after Lily, etc.)

It's also about swimming and dancing and playing arcade games, and I'm getting hungry, so several scenes with food come to mind. (Mmm. Chili fries.)

And I hate to pick just one aspect and stick it in the title, because it implies that the whole book is about that--buuut, dancing is a good metaphor for what the two MCs are learning about life, so:


Also, it's alliterative. Awesome. :)

That's all I got. Happy Birthday.

(p.s. I started querying THE FREEZER this morning.)

Zainab Khan said...

Happy belated birthday! :)

I;m terrible with titles as well but here's one for you.

Crossing to the World's End

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks for offering to read, Alexa! I'm pretty set at the moment, but if I need another reader, I'll look you up:)

Thank you, Ryan. I hope you get to read it someday;)

Thanks for the votes, Dana!

Ooh, Alison, I like WHAT CONNECTS US. Thanks!

Haven't decided yet, Suzi, so I appreciate the vote. (I really like that one, too, by the way--it's one of my top contenders.)

Ooh, Lori, tricky. I'll definitely keep it in mind!

Thanks for the votes (and birthday wishes), Heather, Susan, and Tara!

Ben, I think that's one of the hardest things about titles--deciding which image or idea is the best/most important one. (And yay for querying THE FREEZER!)

I appreciate it, Zainab!

Cavanagh Creative said...

Given the content of your book, a title like 'IF ONLY...' would be descriptive and would immediately attract readers who have gone through similar trauma.

Anonymous said...

I like "Me After You."

Elizabeth Dunn said...

Definitely Me After You but if it's already been taken by another romance novel then something with Pearl Street Bridge in it. Not just Bridge - have to have the Pearl Street:)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Not a bad idea, Cavanagh. Thanks for the suggestion!

Traci and Elizabeth, you'll be happy to hear that, despite the existing adult romance, Kate and her assistant are still leaning toward ME AFTER YOU. It certainly has appeal:)

(Speaking of that existing adult romance, the only ME AFTER YOU I've been able to find appears to be a self-published title by Mindy Hayes. To those of you who are familiar with it, is that the ME AFTER YOU you're talking about? If not, who wrote (and published) the other?)

Shallee said...

Ooh, I LOVE this. And I love the title ME AFTER YOU. Good luck with it!

pamelablackblogs said...


The title AFTER YOU was already used by Julie Buxbaum. Pretty sure it was here second novel.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks for the feedback, pamelablackblogs! I really like BEFORE ME, AFTER YOU--though I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around it:)