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Young Writers Society
Series and Book Titles Discussion
Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:59 pm
What's your process for naming books? Naming a series?
Which is more important to you?
Will a bad series title break a good book? Will it outweigh a good book title?
Will a bad book title outweigh an interesting series title?
What are your favorite book and series titles?
stay off the faerie paths
Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:06 pm
For me, naming books is a BIG part of my process. I feel physically incapable of writing novel unless I have a fitting name for it, though I couldn't tell you why. I know titles are one of those things that change throughout draft stages, but it doesn't stop me needing one.
I usually just flounder about until a name comes to me, so I don't really have a system. I do believe names are important, though. It's effectively your opening line, the first thing the reader sees of your story. It doesn't outweigh the content of the book, but it can still mean the difference between drawing the reader in and letting their eyes sweep on past.
I'm not really sure what you mean about a bad book title outweighing an interesting series title, but in regards to my favourite titles, I have to mention my lifelong love
His Dark Materials
. I love it as a trilogy title because it just stands out as so unusual, not like any other series names I've come across - and I like that it derives from Paradise Lost, as well, referencing the materials from which God shaped the universe. The books themselves have fairly standard names, though.
As far as standalone books go, more of my favourite titles include
A Thousand Splendid Suns
(though I don't think much of the book itself),
The Bone Clocks
Not the Only Sky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
. I suppose the fact that I (mostly) enjoyed all of these books might have biased me towards the titles, but perhaps that just means that names aren't quite as important as we think. It doesn't hurt to have a good one, though.
The backs of my eyes hum with things I've never done.
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:39 pm
Series titles, I tend to go for something simple and generic, so long as it sounds cool. For the individual books, the longer the title, the better =D Usually a minature summary of the plot, setting or main character.
I don't think a bad series title would break a good book, but I think it makes it harder to persuade others to read it, and one of the best things about a good book is being able to share it. Recommending 'A Song of Ice and Fire' sounds like I'm trying to get a fantasy reader into some poetic fairytale. Recommending 'Game of Thrones' much better suits the theme, so the title does the work for me.
In terms of titles, my standout favourite is still 'Across the Nightingale Floor.' The rest of the series fell flat, but one of the most iconic moments of that book is when the sum of Takeo's life and efforts finally come down to that simple act of crossing a room, and suddenly all the pieces point to the title and the words kind of explode.
'The Painted Veil' is also one of my favourites, for a similar reason. The title always seems to indicate something quite superficial, until the moment its significance is revealed and it becomes a thing that kind of envelopes the fragility of the story and its characters.
Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:53 am
I've never written a series, and even though I have thoughts on a companion novel for Silk (called Linen), I wouldn't go about naming them anything until they both existed. To me, there's nothing more discouraging than a presumptuous series title on the cover of a debut novel. Especially when it has a word like "chronicles" or "saga" in it. Creative names for trilogies - like 'His Dark Materials' - work to an extent, but the majority of people still refer to it as "Northern Lights" around here. And the Harry Potter series never had a series name other than "the Harry Potter series) - obvious, non-pretentious, straightforward. But when you name your first book, for instance- "Fever - book one of the Chemical Garden trilogy" - it's cumbersome. It feels like you can't let your book stand by itself. And books should stand by themselves, even if they don't necessarily have to.
I'm terrible at naming things, to me a title is transient until I see the shape of the story and the title that fits it. 'Unruly' had several different titles and often no title at all until I fixed on this one, and it works and I'm happy.
Simple titles make me happy. Although I really love the long titles too - "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", " The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" - they so well encapsulate the tone of the book within.
"Stella. You were in my dream the other night. And everyone called you Princess." -Lauren2010
Lots of times you have to pretend to join a parade in which you're not really interested in order to get where you're going.
— Christopher Darlington Morley
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