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02 July 2008 @ 11:17 am
Title Woes  
Regarding the first-draft-just-completed novel, it doesn't have a title yet. I usually don't have too much trouble with titles--not that I don't change them (for a long time Spells for Clear Vision was Airs and Graces).

This is part of a loosely connected series of novels based on ballad and myth. Gypsy Davey, the first one, is based on the ballad of that name (also called "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy", "The Gypsy Rover" and other variations) + the Donkeyskin fairytale.

This second one is based on "The Demon Lover" ballad + the Persephone myth.

The problem is that "The Demon Lover" has a far too paranormal romance connotation for this particular novel, though a relationship is central to the story and it is a fantasy novel. I'm bummed that "The Demon Lover" won't work as it would be great to consistently name the novels after the ballad titles, but so it does. I would choose a ballad that doesn't seem to have a variety of titles to choose from. At least, I don't think so. There aren't any pomegranates and I don't think there is an image that is central enough to the story to work as a title. My working file folder is called "Kate" after the main character, which is pretty useless.

The only thing I can think of so far is Alakshihir, the (made-up place) setting for the greater part of the novel.

What do you think of that as a title?

Any other title suggestions conjured by the very little I've said about the novel?
 
 
 
Amy Sissonamysisson on July 2nd, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
Just a spur-of-the-moment gut reaction, but Alakshihir strikes me as problematic because it's not easy to pronounce without slowing down and sounding it out.

I'm curious, did you change Airs and Graces because of the Toby Bishop book by that title?

I struggle with titles constantly....
Neile Grahamneile on July 3rd, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)

I hadn't heard of the Bishop book before now. Spells for Clear Vision was published in 1994, so it predates the book Bishop book (which I just looked up) by way too many years.

I may be telling you something you already know, but Airs and Graces is a fairly common title for folk albums--I think there are 3 or 4 of them by now that I'm aware of.

The problem with it for poetry and fiction is that it simply seems vague rather than evocative, at least to me.

I'm bummed about Alakshihir not working. Back to the drawing board.
Amy Sissonamysisson on July 3rd, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
Don't just go on my opinion with that, though. Have you gotten other comments? Duh, I'll go look! ;-)

I did not know that about "Airs and Graces" being a common title for folk albums.
Neile Grahamneile on July 3rd, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)

Glad you didn't know. I worry about being pedantic. When you think of that title in musical terms it sounds gorgeous and evocative. For poetry, vague. For a fantasy title it's not bad, if still a little vague.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on July 2nd, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
I wanted (badly) to call a novel Harskialdna, which has so many levels of meaning. But I was told, "Do NOT have as title a word people can't ask for or won't know how to spell when asking for it, especially a one word title." So for what it's worth, I'm passing this on to you.
Neile Grahamneile on July 3rd, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you're right. Darn!
Stephanie Burgisstephanieburgis on July 2nd, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
Is there a phrase from the original ballad that you could co-opt as a title, maybe?

(And ditto to Amy and Sherwood on Alakshihir...it does have a lovely ring to it but could definitely trip up people trying to remember it when they're talking to a bookstore clerk!)
Neile Grahamneile on July 3rd, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)

It probably seems more simple to me than it is, as "shihir" means city in Turkish, so I'm used to seeing it as part of place names. But yes, that's probably just me and a few other people reading in English. Darn!

Back to the drawing board. At least I still have another draft or two before trying to sell it. If I'm lucky, something will emerge in the process.
ethereal_ladethereal_lad on July 2nd, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
How about subititling it 'a ballad.'? Or you could go the Sigor Ros route and title it ()
Neile Grahamneile on July 3rd, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)

If it were more experimental I would got for something cummings-esque, quirky and charming and evocative, But no one but me would get it.