Writing comp titles really is an art form. Boiling a story down to “when x meets y” requires a lot of skill. Some tips I’ve heard before are:
- Nix the bestselling titles (a.k.a. Please don’t think you’re John Grisham)
- Try to use semi-current works
- Use ones in a similar genre (some folks recommend using just books, while others are okay with references to short stories or films)
I thought I’d try my hand at making up a comp for my short story, “Those Holiday Blues.” It’s part of Festive Mayhem, a recently released anthology collection by an amazing group of diverse crime fiction writers.
I also asked the other contributors to come up with individual comps for their stories. Here goes (this is organized by story title in the anthology):
“The New Year’s Hex” by Carolyn Marie Wilkins:
Ghost meets Murder She Wrote meets black history circa 1920.
“Pipe Dreams” by S.G. Wong:
Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister meets Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love.
“A Christmas Tip” by Elizabeth Wilkerson:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Good Girls
“The Stranger in the House” by Stella Oni:
Miss Marple meets Mma Ramotswe
“What Lies Inside” by Kia Dennis:
The Tell-tale Heart meets You
“A Deadly First” by Delia C. Pitts:
Motherless Brooklyn meets Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.”
“The Holiday Murder Mélange” by Myra Jolivet:
MC Beaton’s Quiche of Death meets the movie, Eve’s Bayou.
“Those Holiday Blues” by Jennifer J. Chow:
Nancy Drew meets He’s Just Not That Into You and set on the beach
“Holiday Holdup” by Paige Sleuth:
Mimi Lee Gets a Clue meets Bad Santa
(P.S. I can’t believe Mimi Lee Gets a Clue was used in a comp. I’m so flattered!)
Can’t wait to read what we’ve written, given those stellar comps?
Share your favorite comps below (ones that you’ve written or others that you’ve read):