It’s one of those days I don’t feel like doing anything productive, because I’m somehow just feeling super burnt out (a combination of difficulties at work and my consistent output for hobby-related activities these last few months), but I don’t feel like wasting a weekend by doing literally nothing. So I decided to work on generating a title for my story, something that I’ve been putting off for a while.
Mind you, I just started the brainstorming process, and none of these options are particularly stellar, but I do hope that by writing about them, or by showing off what’s on the table, that it would inspire more ideas that can guide me to a better direction.
Warning: a few spoilers
The Hermit Mage: This one was suggested by a beta reader after she read the entire book. I really like this one, because it’s simple, it’s honest (the story is about a hermit mage — or mages), it piques some curiosity since it’s not obvious why this mage is considered a hermit. My only real gripe about it is that… see, my father used to tell stories to me when I was little of a hermit who fought monsters, and in some ways, I did take that vocabulary and applied it to my story. But if I end up naming my entire story after it, I would never hear the end of it from my father, haha!
The Malicious Wind: When I was looking over some of my favourite books and trying to analyze their titles, I felt like a good number of them had titles based on the thing that precipitated the conflict of the story. In this case, this title does a pretty decent job of that. The Malicious Wind was exactly the entity that prompted Sano’s mother to leave, and because she left, he got in all sorts of trouble. I just… I don’t know if it’s sufficiently evocative of what the story’s really about though.
The Moon Metal: I mean, if we’re looking at things that cause conflict, this one is probably the main cause of the conflict. But it’s also really spoilery and this entity doesn’t actually feature prominently in like, the first half of the book. So I don’t know if it’s somehow misleading. I’ve also contemplated combining these 2 titles (ie. The Moon Metal and the Malicious Wind), which sounds more adventure-y, but it’s also a mouthful.
Then there are name-based titles that I think has better flow, but I’m very reluctant to throw names out there, especially because the names in my book are not the usual kind, or even patterned after the usual kind. Some popular books have done this well, but I don’t want to take risks just because of them. Anyway, here are some that I thought about anyway.
The Forbidden Scripts of Dayung: I like this one, actually. The fact that you weren’t allowed to write in certain languages is a big theme in the book. Not so fond of the word ‘forbidden’ though. It feels too overused. I don’t know if ‘illegal’ would have the same effect though. Meh.
The Ghoul of Katam: Ok, this one I like as much as The Hermit Mage, because I think Ghoul is a cool word. However, it’s also spoilery, and the Ghoul itself doesn’t appear until the second half, so it’s weird naming the entire story after it.
The Mages of Dayung: Or Katam… not sure yet which place I should use. Feels kind of bland though… like, okay, what about these mages? What makes them special? Why should I read about them? Maybe this one would be better as a series title, if I do end up writing more about these characters.
Some of the blog posts that I read about titling your novel suggested taking phrases from your manuscript instead. So far, that hasn’t yielded anything really useful (which might worry me more, but it doesn’t seem to be a trend in the genre I write for anyway.)
Silver and Gold: This is probably a phrase that’s repeated at least five times in the book, but it’s also super-cliched.
Ka: haha, I would have to be really gutsy to go with this title. But you know, I do like it a lot, because it’s so simple. It’s one syllable, it’s two letters, and even though the first reaction people might have is, “What the heck does that mean?”, a simple explanation in the synopsis will clear that up pretty quickly. It’s also a word whose meaning is such a central theme of the book too.
Aaand finally, my favourite idea, taken straight from the mouth of one of my characters:
The List of Crimes You Never Committed
Hahaha! I mean, the blog posts did suggest taking the most interesting phrase you can find!
And a few funny bonuses that I would never go for, but I think succinctly summarizes my novel:
How Not To Find Your Missing Mother
Man, This Fantasy World Needs a Magical Equivalent of Phones
Nobody’s Special: A Fantasy Story Without Chosen Ones
Boy Meets Girl, But Not The One He’s Looking For
Anyway, that’s all I have so far. Let me know what you think of any of these, or if you have an idea for how to make them better! Or perhaps you have an entirely different suggestion. Throw them my way! I need all the ideas I can get right now.