Monday, September 10, 2012

Of Books and New Names

Today, I got the official word that the adjustments to the series name on my novel releasing next month are locked down. The journey through titles on this coming book has been something like canoeing through rapids.

I wrote two-thirds of the manuscript back in the rough-draft stages (wow, that seems like ages ago) calling it nothing but "Danae's Story." I have always had a deep an abiding loathing of titling my works. I never title my drawings. I always struggled to affix a title to my films in college, and then they usually turned out to maintain the name of the works I was adapting for film ("The Highwayman," based on the poem by Alfred Noyes, and "The Cat and the Fiddler," based on the short story by Lloyd Alexander, for example.) This title-phobia extended quite naturally into when I started writing fiction.

I finally settled on a title of The Sword of the Patron for my novel, since I was going to start showing it to people and I figured I better be able call it something. But fantasy novels have long used the "____ of the _______" formula for titles, so publishers and editors are now prone to shy away from them.

After David Farland critiqued the first third of the book for a workshop I took with him about a year and a half ago, I shortened the title to drop the opening "the." He referred to the book as Sword of the Patron, and I typically did too, whenever I talked about it. But it was still a blank-of-the-blank. Let's be honest.

Written World Communications/Other Sheep wanted something crisper for the book, and that's where the title made it's final transition to Curse Bearer. It's more central to the story and bears multiple meanings, so it was a good switch.

The book remained, however, the first book in a proposed trilogy, and can you guess what format the trilogy name followed? Yep. Blank-of-the-blank. The series has been The Call of the Creator for almost as long as the book was The Sword of the Patron. But time has passed. Much editing has transformed the book. It's not the same story it was under either of those titles. And so, like Sword of the Patron had to go, so did Call of the Creator...at least for the series. The new name? After much thought and mulling of the overarching elements of the series, I've landed on...

The Risen Age Archive.

It's got an epic sound. There's no "of the" to be found anywhere. And to all of your consternation, I'm sure, you won't learn what that series title means until at least book two. I hope you'll follow Danae at least that far and find out the root of this new moniker.

10 comments:

  1. Ooo, the Risen Age Archive! I like it! It also kind of hints at what the series will be about once it gets rolling. Kind of like the Ashtown Burials series (isn't that so creepy?).

    I'm with you about titles, though. I haven't landed on a good title for my current WIP, and I hope a publisher will come up with a better one.

    Also, I thought Curse Bearer made more sense for a title than Sword, because the sword doesn't even get mentioned until late in the book's second half, whereas the curse bearer thing gets explained pretty early on.

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Kessie...and yes, you're right. Curse Bearer interweaves the whole tale better. I hope you do land a wonderful publisher who has scads of winning ideas for a title. I wonder what the statistic is for how many books get re-titled during editing...

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  2. Well, at least you have a series title before book one comes out! Hah! Finding Angel has been out a year, and I JUST now settled on a series title with the release of book 2. Not that you'll even see the series name on the cover...

    So, title avoidance. Another thing we have in common ;).

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    1. I'm sure the series title will show up on the deluxe, leather bound limited editions, right? :)But I like the use of Toch Island as the unifying factor for your series.

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  3. Oh, good, This book deserves a trilogy!

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    1. Thanks, Aaron! Here's hoping I can make the subsequent books shine.

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  4. The "Risen Age" has interesting connotations in connection with fantasy. Every fantasy has to have its "Age of Legends" or equivalent from long, long ago. "Risen Age" implies that the glorious age is in the future, and of course it's full of Christian implication as well.

    This is only the second time I've heard the word "Archive" as a suffix in a high fantasy title, so it's probably still new enough. It kind of has the same effect as the overused prefix, "The Chronicles of.."

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    1. Yes, I agree, Bainspal, that trying to avoid the obviously shopworn phrases is necessary, so hopefully a whole passel of books that use "archive" won't come out this year. :) And I hope I can weave the Risen Age concept in on multiple levels. That would make it more gratifying for all of us, I think.

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  5. I'm so glad 'The Risen Age Archive' was approved! I love it. I also love the new look over here. Much sharper. Good work!

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    1. Thanks for the props on the new template here, my friend. It was definitely time. (Plus, I had Papyrus as a font in my old header. I hear there is a society of artists out there who make a point of spotting Papyrus and mocking it with great disdain.) Anyway, I do appreciate your words of approval. They mean more than perhaps you know, since I foresee your writing one day being the Tolkien to my Terry Brooks.

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