One week to go before the deadline to submit your novel-length manuscript to the 2015 Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest. Get it done!


The goal’s had me burning the midnight oil the past couple months, forcing me to put off a lot of other substantive posts. Among the big items I’d hoped to reflect on recently but couldn’t:

  • “Free range parenting” (For starters, change the name. That’s for starters).
  • Rolling Stone’s rape story retraction. (Sabrina Rubin Erdely had previously been reprimanded by disgraced journalist Stephen Glass? The Stephen Glass best known for fabulating wild, wonderful stories for The New Republic?).
  • Tons of book reviews (Apologies fellow writers).

Once the May 1 deadline passes, I’ll pick up the reviews again. Noteworthy in my stack of reading is Steve Himmer’s 2012 The Second Most Dangerous Job in America (setting the stage to review his 2015 release: Fram); Does Harry Dream of Electric Sheep by John Altson; and Jonathan Miller’s On Your Own. I also have a novel by Tamim Sadikali, Dear Infidel, which is long past due for a few words of praise.

Taking the time to post this announcement can mean only one thing, though: I’m in striking distance of the deadline with my current work in progress. The wind’s been at my back these last few months and the world spinning beneath my feet with inspiration. The family… they’ve been patient.

This novel’s ready, pulsing with desire for human contact. Just one thing bothers me. After a year-and-a-half stewing on the topic, six months of dedicated writing according to outline, and week after week of revising and polishing, I still can’t come up with a nice, pithy title that captures the essence. Three words would do it!

Dust off your manuscripts and submit to Leapfrog Press. Good luck.


7 thoughts on “TITLES—ARGH!

  1. I still can’t come up with a nice, pithy title that captures the essence.

    Well, if you want help you’re going to have to tell us what that essence is . . .

    Oddly enough, I almost always think of the title first, then start developing the story. Sometimes I’ll have a title for years before the right story comes along. I guess it’s just a matter of habit.


    • I thought of that… i.e. sharing the synopsis. Thanks for asking. I wish I had your method.

      Ok, so in this satire on the second amendment, congressional horse-shit, and life in the federal cube-farm:

      Millennial Gabriel Dunne narrates a period of uncertainty for federal employees affected by the failed budget process. Gabe’s work for the office that studies government affairs gives him both a broad view of how the Republic is run and a close-up of the people who run it. From analyst Manny Teague who can’t stop talking about his kids to boss Ralph Dvorak who aims to shut him up, from Chloe Gilchrist planning her wedding to N.B. Harcourt bracing for divorce, from Miles Miles who’s actually retired to the interns he mentors who are actually unpaid, Gabe’s co-workers are dysfunctional but balanced. Already stressed about lost pay if the government shuts down, how will this frazzled group react when real tragedy strikes? Will they rally behind Teague, whose beloved twins are killed in exactly the kind of mass-shooting the government exists to prevent, or will they become the next victims when Teague goes after the real enemies of the state?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How about “Enemies of the State”? That should cover the 2nd-Amendment loonies, NRA, et al., and a good part of Congress.

    Good luck with Leapfrog. Your synopsis makes me want to read the book.

    BTW, I’ve come around to your way of thinking about Brian Williams. At this point it’s hard not to. You were right … and I meant to tell you so some time ago.


    • Diane, thanks. I like this suggestion (whoa, i really like/appreciate that found the synopsis compelling!). I like your idea for a title a lot–it’s got drama and fire. I had moved from the placeholder “Right of the People” to a blander “The Patches” (a recurring image w/ some hopefully powerful emotional links to aspects of the story). I’ll have to rethink this…

      Thanks for visiting around my blog! I’m looking forward to heading over to vbiblog in just a moment.


    • How about “Enemies of the State”?

      For what it’s worth, that’s the title idea that sprang immediately to my mind too. I also quite liked State of the Enemy, but came to the conclusion it was perhaps a bit too clever-clever..

      In both instances, I reckoned the echo of the Will Smith movie could do no harm.


      • I feel like such a dope. “The Patches”. Yawn. I tried it out on my sons. Five year old: “That’s weird”. Seven year old: “That’s funny”. They must be projecting my personality: (also what they know of the book is that one poor schmuck gets his tie stuck in the shredder). But you guys… you’ve zeroed in and been helpful.

        I’m revising ch.20 of 20 tomorrow morning. I appreciate knowing I won’t cross the finish line alone.


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