Title help? Pleeeeaase?

This post is friends-locked because asking for help involves spilling some beans that aren’t really supposed to be spilled just yet.

I have this MG novel.  It used to be called SWINGER OF BIRCHES, and then it was called MAPLE GIRL.  I revised it and revised it and revised it.  And then…a wonderful but still nameless editor bought my book, and it’s going to be a Fall 2009 release, so I’ve been revising and revising and revising some more.  And one of the revisions involves brainstorming a new title.

That’s why Wonderful Nameless Editor (hereafter referred to as WNE) gave me the okay to post some details here to get ideas.

So…if you’re still reading, I hope it’s because you’re a brilliant-title-generating kind of person.   Here’s the essence of the story…

12-year-old Gianna Zales can handle her grandmother’s tendency to leave false teeth in the refrigerator.  She can handle a little brother who thinks he’s a member of the paparazzi and a stand-up comic.  She can even handle a health-food nut mother who equates Oreos with arsenic.  But her 7th grade leaf collection might just be the end of her. 

It’s a monster project — 25 leaves, collected, identified, and organized by Friday.  If Gianna can’t get it done on time, she’ll miss cross country sectionals, and her alternate — a girl who wears makeup and princess shirts to track practice — gets to go in her place. But no matter how hard Gianna tries to work on the project, comic catastrophes face her at every turn, and to make matters worse, her beloved Nonna is showing signs of Alzheimer’s Disease more serious than dentures in the fridge.

Other tidbits —

    Gianna has trouble paying attention to things. Art  (painting, drawing with bright colored pencils, and creating collages) focuses her. So does running through her home town in Vermont.

   Gianna and her best friend Zig play “The Leaf Game,” where they decide what kind of tree people would be if they were trees.  Zig is an oak.  Gianna is a sugar maple because she’s bright and fluttery.

   The book has threads of Robert Frost woven through it, particularly the poem “Swinger of Birches.”

Thoughts on titles from my agent and WNE…

    The title should include leaves and/or fall somehow, since it’s set in Vermont in October and is a Fall release.
    Even though it sounds kind of emotional, the book is really funny and quirky, and it would be great if the title captured that.
    It can’t be sappy.  (No pun intended)

Here are some titles that WNE and I have tossed around…

25 LEAVES BY FRIDAY
CATCH A FALLING LEAF
THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z
PICASSO, PAPARAZZI, AND 25 LEAVES
THE FINE ART OF CATCHING LEAVES
GIANNA Z NEEDS 25 LEAVES BY FRIDAY

My agent also suggested GIANNA AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD TITLE, but she was kidding.  I think.

So…

Do you like any of those titles?  Do MG readers who live with you like any of them?

Do you have other ideas for titles?

Thanks in advance for any help!  WNE and I will be forever grateful for any ideas you share.

I’m headed back to my revision nook (I don’t have a whole cave) until the kids get home from their respective dance/soccer camps.

55 Replies on “Title help? Pleeeeaase?

  1. I like The Brillian Fall of Gianna Z and I also like FALL OUT. But do you want to have the Alzheimer’s element of the story included in the title somehow,too?

  2. Leaf it to Gianna Z

    Gianna Z the Amazing Leaf Collector…NOT!

    I agree with the others I like the The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z
    (This gives me the impression she is not going to succeed with her task)

    I read all the titles listed so far to a MG girl who is here right now. I asked what book she would pick if all she saw was the title. She said Fall Out.

    Don’t know if that helps or not.

  3. First of all, congratulations on selling this wonderful project!!!

    I like the idea that trees and leaves do double-duty, keeping Gianna out of trouble and providing a measure of comfort. With that in mind, how about something like FALLING INTO A CARPET OF LEAVES?

  4. I like: THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z

    Or:

    GIANNA Z FELL OUT OF A TREE (no wait…)

    What about just a simple:

    25 LEAVES

    or

    THE 25 LEAVES of GIANNA Z

    or

    GIANNA Z’s 25 LEAVES

    Good luck and congratulations on the sale, Kate!

  5. Congrats, Kate!

    I also like BRILLIANT FALL…

    My suggestions (even though I suck at titles)
    COLLECT FALL BY FRIDAY
    RUNNING TO FALL -or-FALL TO RUNNING

  6. Cool to see this after reading Zig’s story.

    How ’bout:
    LEAF GRIEF
    DESTINATION: FRIDAY or JOURNEY TO FRIDAY or something like that?

    My favorite of your list is 25 LEAVES BY FRIDAY

    Good luck!

  7. I like “The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.” It’s intriguing–how can a fall, something normally bad, be brilliant? Plus all the seasonal implications.

    Sounds great, Kate! Definitely an interesting plot.

  8. I like the first title: 25 Leaves by Friday.

    BTW: I think I’m FINALLY going to get a chance to read this tonight. I can’t wait!

  9. I like

    Brilliant fall of Brianna

    and Jo’s suggestion of

    25 Leaves

    It would be on the shelf next to my 42 Miles if they were alphabetical by title!!!

    Good luck!

  10. I like BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. But you knew that.

    I also like THE LEAF GAME — but you knew that too.

    And I like Zales better than Picasso. But I like that P and Z are the same soundy.

  11. Just to think outside the box, how about:

    BUY THIS BOOK! (just kidding)

    I really like BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. It’s the title that stuck out the most to me of the list.

    The only other thing I can think of is pretty lame. LEAF IT TO GIANNA Z.

    Yeah, like I said. Lame. 🙂

  12. I like THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z

    I also like the idea of having “run” or “frost” in the title. Sheesh, as a Vermonter and a fan of Frost, you’d think I could come up with something.

    Do the cross country sectionals have a name–like THE AUTUMN RUN? That could be a play on the line in Frost’s “My November Guest” that says something about autumn rain. LEAF RUN. RUNNING TO THE FALL is another play on Frost, but not very young sounding. My husband suggested MAPLE KEY–which sounds like an idea for a different book to me.

  13. I’m really leaning toward the BRILLIANT FALL idea tonight, thanks to everyone’s feedback. But I like MAPLE KEY as a title, even if not for this book. You write that one, okay?

  14. I like short titles, so THE LEAF GAME appeals to me. Or LEAF GAMES. And, even if the leaf game Gianna and Zig play isn’t the central story, getting the monster project done by Friday is a bit of a game, too.

    I already LOVE this book, Kate.

  15. I liked “The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z”. Also (no shock) adored “Swinger of Birches”. I’m probably too late to be useful, but I hope you find/found something wonderful.