To recap: when the folks at Shaye Areheart, the imprint at Random House that bought my novel, informed me that the title of my book -- Making Up -- would have to change, I went to work on new title ideas... and before long suffered a major bout of brain fatigue. Nothing I came up with was hitting the spot, and the clock was ticking. What's a modern-day author to do? But of course: I held a "Name This Novel" contest on my blog.
The contest post garnered an astounding 75 comments -- in itself a record for the relatively obscure Living the Romantic Comedy -- with literally hundreds of novel titles generously offered up by readers. Ideas ranged from the fairly inspired to the totally ludicrous. Some contributors who thought long and hard about the title search shared the intricacies of their process with us. And often it was what people said about how they arrived at their titles that stirred the most provocative playing-with-words on my end, as the search continued...
...And continued. I got so used to fielding new titles on a daily basis that I nearly forgot there was an ostensible end to this; it seemed the game might just go on, existentially, forever. Thus when the winning title showed up one morning, I was truly startled. There it was, the real thing -- announcing itself in that way that "what works" usually does: you see it, and you know it. Inexplicably but undeniably, something just goes click in your consciousness, and you think, riiiiiiight. There it is.
Before I spring the new title on you (I use this term provisionally, as I'm still waiting for the publisher powers-that-be to approve it), I thought you might enjoying seeing some that came close and some that went far afield. And before I get into that, let me re-pitch the story, so the titles will have a context. Here's the gist of what The Novel Formerly Known as Making Up is about:
Desperate to win back his estranged wife, a man invents an imaginary lover to make her jealous... and then gets into real trouble when this fantasy woman becomes real to him. The man is a teacher of romantic comedy; the wife is Italian; the imaginary lover is a kind of muse.
Got it? Good. First, here's a bunch of titles from Living RomCom readers that I found perversely delightful (or delightfully perverse) but that wouldn't really... do.
Boy Loses Mind
Teaching RomCom 101: Ensure Your Lover Exists
I Fell in Love With a Vision From Myself
I Love I Think You
Whatever Happened to Billy Mernit
The Joy of Made Up Sex
But I Was Thinking of You
I'm With Cupid
A Thin Air Affair
Real Women Have Fleas
Thank you Chris, Dave, E.C., Audrey, John, W.C., Mike, Olaf, and MaryAn (#s 9 & 10) . Now here's the batch that came close.
Boy Meets Muse
Love and Fiction in L.A.
The Makeup Artist
Living the Romantic Comedy
Making Up Naomi
Make You Up
Me Without You
Thank you Chris, Christina, Brooke, Amy, Piers, Duncan, Alan, and Sam; the last of these was my own self-penned contender, which is all the more reason why I was particularly pleased when the winning title showed up, namely (drum roll...):
IMAGINE ME AND YOU
Rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? "Says the story," do it not? And what's real neat is the fact that you don't have to be familiar with the song it comes from (the phrase is the opening line of the immortal Turtles tune, Happy Together), but if you are, the title gains an additional ironic resonance.
The winner (should Random House agree), who'll be getting an acknowledgement in the published book, a free autographed copy, and bragging rights for life (unless the book tanks, in which case she might have to pay me to stop telling people she titled it) is one ANNA HAILEY from Anderson, Alaska -- a town of less than 700 people, where this "stay-at-home mom and military wife" lives with husband, daughter and dog.
Anna, whose on-line handle is blurkerbunny, is in the Advanced Screenwriting Professional Program at UCLA. She's in the process of finishing up her third rom-com script, after being script editor,1st AD and UPM on an independent feature called That Day.
Now: maybe you'd like to write my one-sentence author's bio for the jacket copy...?
Meanwhile, Living the Romantic Comedy is going on hiatus for a week. See y'all here on Valentine's Day!