kit (mizkit) wrote,

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help with a book title

As a writer, titles are incredibly important to me. I don't know if other writers have this issue (I know some don't), but the title is my backbone for a book. I think really hard about patterns, about what the title conveys, about a lot of things that I get way hung up on. (This is dangerous, because publishers are wont to change titles left and right. I like to go in armed as to why my particular title works for a book, although in the case of, say, the Dermody books, I went in knowing the titles I had weren't particularly strong. The elements, though, were very important to me, and I got to keep those: CARDINAL, FIREBIRD, PHOENIX.)

So it's bothering me that I don't have exactly the right title for the second book in the Del Rey series, and I'd really like some help coming up with something, if people want to play this game again.

The first and third books in my Del Rey series are THE QUEEN'S BASTARD and THE IMPERATOR'S HEIR (although that one hasn't actually been, like, contracted for or anything. Let us not get hung up on the details.)

The current title for the 2nd book, the working title, is THE PRETENDER'S CROWN. There's nothing wrong with this title, except it doesn't do exactly what I want it to, and the more I think about it the more I fear it drags the story in a different direction from where I intend it to go. This, for somebody who considers the title a book's backbone, is Not Good. (It's also possible it's Quite Good, but that I'll end up with a completely different story than the one I expected to tell. That's not necessarily bad, but meh. I'd like to try to retain some control over it...!)

The title I've been playing with from the beginning is THE GYPSY'S SCION. On one hand, this does what the other two titles do: it's 3 words, and the pattern is "antecedent's descendant", which is very, very much what I want for the titles of these books. These characters are defined by who their parents are in a lot of ways, so yeah, that's important.

Where THE GYPSY'S SCION falls down:

1. there's no implication of royalty, which I'd like, as the gypsy in question is a king among his people. That would help it fit the pattern of the other two books, too: royalty's descendent.

2. frankly, it's just weak. "Scion" is a ... not-real word, compared to words like "bastard" and "heir". But "son" doesn't seem to carry enough weight; I want something with more punch. Maybe I'm overthinking that.

The world I'm dealing with (at least in theory) in the second book is maybe equivilant to 19th century Europe, if that's of any use. The hero is, yes, the gypsy's son, but "royalty descendent" is more important to me than the word 'gypsy' in there, especially because by the time I get to the end of the first book I may have a completely different idea in mind, which is not impossible. Because of that, I might be putting the cart before the horse here, but it's something that keeps niggling at me, probably because I really want a solid handle on that book as soon as possible, and right now the title is tearing me in different directions. I've come to grim terms with the idea that the second title of the series might not fit the pattern I want it to, but before I utterly give up I thought I'd throw it out to the masses.

(But I *am* working, I cried out in protest! Agonizing over my titles *is* working! It's just not getting words on the page! Right. Breakfast and then edits on PHOENIX LAW. I leave the rest to you, my good readers.)
Tags: tqb, writing
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