I write “Do You Believe in Miracles?” at the top of my first college level creative writing paper. Sure, it’s cliché, but what isn’t nowadays? Cancer stories and vampire romances and those sappy movies where the dog dies, what’s one more bad title?

My roommate and her boyfriend walk in. She grabs her ID off her desk and squints at the screen over my shoulder. “Isn’t that the quote from that hockey movie?”

Crap. I delete it. “Any good title ideas for a story about a girl who burns down the house after her dad dies?”

Psycho Chic or The Grim Girl or Pyromaniac Princess.”

The accounting major has better titles than I do. “I’ll just title it The Psycho Pyro.”

“That has a nice ring to it.”

“You know who else might get a nice ring?” Her boyfriend rubs his nose against hers, my cue to leave.

I connect my laptop to the printer and hit the button. “I just need twelve, ten-page copies.” They’re already kissing.


My workshop day comes too soon. I almost skip class, but that’s not helpful and I’m not a coward. My story’s up first. The professor pokes at holes in the plot, notes places where people speak out of character, and underlines clichés. Some students chime in, but their comments aren’t helpful. Then they analyze the title and everyone has an opinion.

“I thought it was nice.”

“It’s too promising. I expected more fire.”

“It misses the central theme of the story.”

“It’s not subtle.”

“It rhymes.”

The professor hands me back his marked-up copy. “Do you have any questions for us?”

Are your guy’s titles any better? “No.”


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