Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What About Maude?

            I have just gotten another manuscript ready to go to my poor editor. Well, Maudy is ready to send off except I don’t have a name for the book.

            Now, this is the twenty-first century I have several modern options for naming my book.  I tried Googling “what to name my book about Maude.”  I learned that the name, Maude, means Battle Maid, which is very appropriate for a United Methodist Pastor.  I’ve considered doing more research, writing a list of significant events in the story and incorporating something from that.  I could poll marketing people or look for the names of best selling books in the romance genre.  Alternatively, I could do the same thing I’ve been doing to solve my problems for most of my life.  I can ask my friends, “What do you think would be a good name for my book?”

            Maude is a widow in her early to mid forties.  Her daughter has finished college and her son is a junior.  Maude’s husband died of a brain injury ten years before the story opens.  His injury caused him to hallucinate so that just before he died, he tried, almost successfully, to kill Maude.  Part of her problem is the trauma this event has left on her family.  The other part of her problem is that she must learn to find the pieces of her life that went missing while she was hospitalized. 

            This story begins shortly after Maude has been assigned as the pastor to a church in the small town of Blackfish on the Kitsap peninsula.  On a Monday, she runs away to the city for a day where she trips and falls onto Ralph’s chest.  From this moment we know she is destined to spend the rest of her life with Ralph.

            While Maudy and Ralph are figuring out their relationship, she is kept busy and entertained by her congregation, her family and her cat, John Wesley.  When a boy at the high school attacks a girl in the hall causing the girl to suffer brain damage similar to Maudy’s experience, Maude makes certain the family will not be offended by the presence of clergy then plunges into their crisis, using all the wisdom and memories of her own injury, to love and support this family in crisis.  She explains her involvement by telling Ralph, “I realize that by helping these strangers--making certain they have meals delivered and sharing what I know--I am helping myself.  I am rewriting my own history, only with more love.”

            Maude’s congregation consists of twenty-three people.  The youngest is only seventy-nine.  She is certain the conference is planning on closing this church soon.  Her struggles include her own internal battle as to whether to fight for the church to grow or let it dwindle and die along with its elderly congregation.

            Part of Maude’s charm is that she has vivid dreams that usually include things she can’t have, like fresh groceries or cute shoes that are too charming to ever find in a store.  Ralph figures prominently in her frustrated dreams, not always in a frustrating manner. 

            She is a bit of a rebel.  When we first meet her, she takes conscious pleasure in the feel of Ralph’s shoulder under her hand.  We see her giggling in the hardware store with the town’s scarlet woman about the best place for disposing of dead bodies.  Ralph occasionally exclaims in frustration, “You don’t look like a preacher and you don’t fit any of my stereotypes about them either!” 

            Maudy’s Porsche is my favorite of her little anti-social rebellions.  To put the matter delicately, her car has had energy-source realignment surgery.  She found a mechanic to rip the gas engine out of a Porsche body and install batteries and an electric motor.  She plugs the thing into an outlet at night and giggles when men give her silent car funny looks.

            The story is a delightful mix of contemporary social commentary, romance, wisdom and voyeuristic fun.  Alas, it does not have a title.  Do you have any suggestions?

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  1. Hi Delinda,
    How about:
    Maude, A Rebel Letting Go

    Sounds like a great story and since I live on the Kitsap Peninsula, I can't wait to read it!

    Good Luck!
    Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins

  2. I'm brainstorming, so some of these are going to be silly. But maybe they'll spark an idea in your imagination:
    The Dreams of Maudy Methodist
    Maudy of Blackfish Methodist
    Maudy Rewrites History
    Maudy's Missing Memories
    Maudy & Ralph (reminds me of Harold and Maude!)
    Maudy and the Twenty-Three Methodists

    Okay, I know you can do better than those! This sounds like a terrific book with interesting characters. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  3. I love the nickname "Maudy" and I think it would make for a simple but attractive title.
    If you're looking for something "out there," maybe "A Parish and a Porsche." I don't know. I have difficulty with titles. If I think of something else, I'll let you know. :)

  4. I love the name Maudy too and maybe that could be part of the title with another word or two suggesting that she is a new and different Maude than she was before. Something like, Maudy, Not Maude, but that sounds too much like the Newberry winner a few year back. I love the meaning of Maude!

  5. First of all, the story sounds wonderful. Congratulations! Maybe Pastor Maudy...we don't think of a pastor being named Maudy so it gives the reader a clue that she is unique, spirited, campassionate. I like Linneann's though... A Pastor and a Porche, just think of the cover and it would certainly make me pick up the book. ~ Peggy

  6. I like Linnea's too. I'm usually good with titles but am drawing a blank--best I got "What to do about Maude?". If I think of a better one, I'll let you know. I love the story concept and the characters!!


  7. Well, better late than never and by now you may have already decided on a name for the book. As I read the excerpt, I found Maude to be a person of diverse character. Then, there it was in the seventh paragraph, Maudy's Charm. For me, that nailed the essence of the story. Maude is romantic, yet spontaneous; sweet, yet agressive. Since you have described your book as 'a delightful mix. . .' that fits the definition of charm: The power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration. It appears Maude provides delight to those around her and arouses admiration as she helps others.

    Just my two cents. . .

  8. HI Delinda, I have been here already but wanted to support you while you still struggle. My newest book wil be titled with one word. Maybe two. Maudy is a great name so how about adding a descriptive word to it and leave it at that? Like
    "Unforgettable Maudy"
    Much luck,

  9. Delinda,

    I love Rosemary's idea. My next book will be titled, "Dedicated Identity" (at least I think so). I thought the last book was going to be titled something other than what it is, but Tate sent my book to their "Title Storm Committee," and they sent me 10 titles to think about. Of course, I chose one of theirs, but since then I've thought that perhaps I should have followed my first heart (my own title). Titles are so important to a book, so pray over it and go for it.


  10. I like, "What About Maude?" Deirdre

  11. How about "What about Maude?" Similar to "What about Bob". After all you are explaining a lot of Maudes life, her life is literally a question on a daily basis, what or how to deal with an issue, what to do with the present before the past presents itself. This is just an idea:)

  12. OMG I didn't see your post Deirdre...sorry! How stupid do I feel:) another suggestion:
    "When Maude met life".