Writing RAZZIE Titles

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Last week’s post offered four No Fee, Cash Prize writing contests.  This week’s post shares a fun (and funny) activity that can shake loose writing ideas and get you thinking of new titles and topics: Write Razzie Titles.

In the movie world, Razzies are the opposite of Academy Awards.   GRA (Golden Raspberry Awards) are given for the “worst” movies (and actors, directors, etc.)   There’s no accounting for choices. A good example is Neil Diamond, nominated for both a Golden Globe award for best actor, and a Razzie for worst actor, for the same 1980’s movie THE JAZZ SINGER.

Just for the fun of it, this week try creating a book, short story or poem title that could win a Razzie award.   Years ago my mother was visiting when I was teaching  this activity in one of my Writing To Publish classes for high school students.  She had a great time—and a lot of laughs—with some of the students’ “bad” titles.   Then when they traded titles and wrote the opening lines for another student’s title, the ideas really took shape.   This activity is definitely  a nonthreatening  way to shake loose the cobwebs and fear of writing and come up with creative prompts and writing exercises that lead to real projects.

Oh, how I wish Mom’s dementia would float away so she could again laugh at these titles and maybe even write possible first lines. Because her dementia refuses to budge, I’ll share these actual book titles with you and see what you come up with.

Have fun! (And then get down to business and write.)


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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, experiments, just doing the best we can, writing, writing exercises

43 responses to “Writing RAZZIE Titles

  1. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Oh my! The possibilities are endless!

    • It’s also a good timed writing exercise, Nancy. Once I wrote a variety of strange titles on the board, and students had to write an opening sentence for a novel, a short story or a poem for each one. Teens can be so creative–and off the wall–and they came up with amazing opening lines. 😉

  2. juliabarrett

    You have me laughing so hard! I’m laughing with your mom! Thanks for this post. Best thing I’ve read all day.

  3. Thanks for pushing us! After four months of no writing and chemo life, I woke up at 5 am this week and could not stop my head. Finally gave in, put the lines down, and I have rough draft of a poem that needs only a little polishing!!!

    • Excellent, Claudia!
      It’s great news to hear that you’re back into the writing mood, and I hope this means the chemo is working. Bless your heart; grab that pen and respond to the early morning inspirations. ❤

  4. To paraphrase, ‘If only dementia would float away’. I wish that too on every star in the sky tonight.. For your mother and millions more. And on a semi related note. My Father in and out of dementia found George Formby hilarious his entire life.

    Think I’ll cheat and take a couple titles out of Hudson Howl’s hat. He was better at ‘razzies’ then I could ever pull off.

    ‘I Putta Potta Paint Der’ was a poem-like creature, that no one could make sense of. That said, the big complaint or compliment was they could not get the title, nor words, of their heads. Which was really the intent all along.

    ‘Whale Lived In a Rock’ was half prose, half fairy tale. Though just a draft for something larger when I grow; if the day ever comes. Whale was large and cuddly. It was written nonsensical.

    • A cuddly whale and “I Putta Potta Paint Der” poem-like creature? You are full of creative ideas, Calvin.
      I still remember my grandfather talking about Formby’s comical songs, and his talent for “lightening the loads” of life was very popular. I’m sorry about your father, Calvin, but if he’s in and out of dementia I hope he’s still having good, clear days.
      Not that we have a choice, but I’d much rather be with my Mom and her deep dementia than with my Dad during his years of suffering with Alzheimer’s. The rage stage was always with him, and he–and those of us who loved him–were miserable with the extreme swings of anger that were such a sad contrast with his true moods and personality.

      • He passed away in 2013. He started showing signs soon after his 60th birthday. By sixty-five, it was full blown.

      • I’m so sorry, Calvin.
        When my Dad died, several friends commented that I didn’t cry at the funeral, and the truth was, I had lost him years earlier.
        But now little good memories BA (before the Alzheimer’s) pop up expectedly, and I do cry because I miss who he actually was long before he died.

    • I spent sometime today, listening to razzie after razzie. Someone had a ‘country & western’ radio station playing where I was working. There were many, but this one made me laugh out loud. ‘Lets Get Drunk and Fight’,

      • Country Western songs are practically outlines for “somebody did somebody wrong” short stories, and the details are amazing, Calvin. I once made a long list of little known but shocking and funny song titles and had students use the titles to write very short stories. They wrote the funniest stories I’ve ever read in a class. I wish I could find that list… 😉

  5. I want to read that “Tractor” book, Marylin. (I’ll be back with a brilliant idea – or to read more fabulous feedback here.)

    • He’s actually written two books, both with “charming” titles, Marian. 😉 But I haven’t read either of them I just loved the title (and cover) of this one. I look forward to your brilliant idea! 🙂

  6. These are hilarious Marylin and I can imagine the fun your Mom had with them back when she was herself. I should think a bunch of teens would be great with first liners for titles like these.
    xxx Sending GIgantic Hugs xxx

    • My mother would have a good time with these, David (without the dementia). However, when she visited my writing classroom and enjoyed this activity, it was more than 20 years ago, and the titles the students came up with were other books. But they were equally off the wall, as I remember, and she laughed and laughed…and wrote opening lines for several of them as practice. THESE are the notes and pages of hers that I wish I could find now.
      Gigantic Hugs back to you! ❤

  7. Don

    I had a good laugh, Marylin. It takes an unshackled and creative mind to come up with some of those.

  8. So much fun! I’m chucking over “Invisible Dick.” 🙂

  9. *chuckling. Perhaps chucking, too.

  10. Perhaps not quite what was intended but I offer “Doughnut Booth Maniac – a collection of Shakespearean anagrams”. Or the apocryphal (?) W E Johns epic: Biggles Flies Undone.

  11. Ah man, I like The Jazz Singer…or maybe I liked the music. 🙂 These are hilarious, Marylin. Thanks for the giggles! xo

  12. Marylin, I wish your mom’s dementia would float away too. She would love these crazy book titles as much as I did. I can’t even fathom “eating gifted children”. LOL Have a fabulous weekend. 🙂

    • Oh, I know she would, Tracy, but like you, she’d be stunned by the “eating gifted children” title. Can you imagine the “opening lines” students would come up with to begin this book? 🙂

  13. When we were teenagers we used to create funny titles like Rusty Bedsprings by I. P. Knightly. Wish I could remember some more. I am sure you had a lot of fun with those exercises.

    • Oh, I remember that one! And Jim’s contribution (see below) I remember, too. But there were so many others that at the time I thought were hilarious, and now I can’t remember them.
      The fun would be writing opening lines for each of these joke titles, Darlene! 🙂

  14. Jim

    Pretty funny, honey! We used to pass sorta nasty Razzies with titles and authors around the playground as kids. LIke Darlene, I can remember only one: “Under the Grandstands” by Seymour Butts. There were always lots of chuckles as the teachers wondered what-the-heck we were whispering to each other. 🙂

    • When we’re with the grandkids, honey, it will be interesting to see what “opening lines” they would write for your title example and Darlene’s! Or they might shrug and think their grandparents are really getting old. ❤

  15. Oh Marylin, you really had me laugh when reading those titles. It is so sad that your mom can no longer enjoy them. I read a sign a year ago in New Orleans that said ” unattended children will be given a double expresso and a free puppy.”

    • I’ve seen that sign, too, Gerlinde, but here in Colorado on the wall of a restaurant, and it was free kittens instead of a puppy. I loved it. And I think it was at least a partially serious threat. I’ve seen rowdy, unattended children who caused waitresses to spill trays of food! 😉

  16. Oh boy, these are too much! How fun! I wish I lived closer to you Marylin so I could take one of your writing classes. 🙂

  17. This is fabulous, Marylin and I am chuckling at the book titles. If I weren’t so busy I would get to work on writing something based on one or more of the titles. I truly wish I could. Have a wonderful day!

    • Especially on busy days, Robyn, sometimes it’s just fun to see real book titles and covers like these and have a good laugh. I still laugh every time I think of a book I saw in Barnes and Noble, STILL STRIPPING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. On the cover was a picture of a sweet older woman wearing an apron over her jeans and denim shirt, and holding up a roll of wall paper. The “stripping” was for stripping off old wallpaper! 🙂

  18. Jeyran Main

    You have a very beautiful website. I look forward to coming back and reading more. Please stop by mine and if you like, follow back.

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