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.
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.