Titles That Work

By Liz Betz

Titles may contain some intrigue; they may suggest another level to the story but in flash fiction, with limited word count constraints, titles are also several additional words. As such they need to ‘work.’

There Go I

Dan glances at the newcomer’s face. Behind the puffiness, is the look of fear and despair Dan recognizes. He says a little prayer both for the other man and himself before he says hello.
“Welcome.” Did he see a flicker of hope in the man’s eyes? That tiny spark can be extinguished, or gently encouraged.
“We have coffee. Let me get you some.” Let this be the kindness given that makes a difference. Unknowingly, equally appreciated, the newcomer has given Dan something in return. A reminder of the pain that brings drinkers to their knees. To a meeting.
But for grace…

Author notes – The setting (an AA meeting) and the background of the narrator are withheld until near the finish of the story. However, the ending phrase of this story, ‘but for grace’ is often paired with ‘there go I’ (the title) which makes the title very much a working part of the story.

Home Safe

There were no tropical storms, no local political turmoil and no lost reservations or luggage and all the flights have been caught. Our fingers uncross. We’re landing.
My husband steadies me on the ramp, no twisted ankle on this last obstacle of our special anniversary trip. Happy to be back, we approach the terminal; tired, of course, but life so good.
Our daughter is picking us up, driving us home, and I wonder what we will tell her first. She’ll be so pleased to listen to our tales; we’ll be so eager to share.
She’s not waiting. Bewilderment until someone greets us with news of the accident. Our beloved did not survive.
The world tilts as we fall into a painful vortex, there is no escape.
But on the tarmac, just before the tsunami caught us, we believed we were home safe.

Author Notes – The title is a ‘pulled out and given to you’ emphasis of this story’s point. First, the characters of the story and the reader believe in they are home safe, then they understand differently. That moment though…if they could have stayed in that ‘home safe’ moment.

A Natural Coach

“The trick is to keep the tips concise and tailored to each player.”
There is a pause as the lecturer looks out at all of us. We’re here to write a referee exam for the minor leagues. But it’s more like we’re being recruited to volunteer as coaches.
I shuffle the papers. I glance around.
He sighs. “I’m through, you can answer the questions now.”
I look at the test and begin. However, I notice as he walks around. He points out a page in the handbook to one. Then offers a suggestion to someone else. He makes it look easy and I realize this is his way but it seems like a personalized message.
For me.

Author notes – The title ‘A Natural Coach’ alerts the reader to a specific definition that is central to the story but also remains ambiguous as the reader wonders about the identity of the ‘coach’ – is it the lecturer or something in the future of the person taking the exam taker?

About the author:

Liz Betz is a retired rancher who loves to write fiction. Her pastime seems to help her days go by, her brain to stay active and sometimes keeps her out of trouble. An overactive imagination is a wonderful thing to harness, but left alone…Her publication credits are many and varied as she explores the fictional world of mostly somewhat older but not necessarily mature characters.

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