Just some titles
I just want to get other people's thoughts on these randomly generated titles I got from The Forge, which can be quite cool. Just wondering if you think any of these have story potential, as I thinking of starting a fantasy novel but don't know where to start. Probably by NOT having elves. Or dwarves. Or gnomes, halflings, orcs, or dragons. Or vampires or werewolves. In fact I should stick mainly to my own made-up creatures, I think. Or do something different with all of the above.
Random titles or objects or places or creatures etc: (quality not guaranteed)
The Kin of the Sun
The Silver Crystal
The Silk Rain
The Mana Tree
The Rose Walker
The Diamond Slayer
The Ash Strider
The Charred Keep, Temple
The Dust Fountain
The Ghost Hall
The Jade Path
The Bristle Mines
Path of the Tempest
Path of the Mage
Road to Renewal
Nether Moon Facility
Fields of Balance
Plateau of The Moon
Garden of Man
Crater Steel, Steel Crater
If I were to write a story with a title from that list I'd probably narrow it down to one of these:
Crossroad Pyre, Moon Throne, or Ashen Strider.
Most of them feel like they have been seen before.
Go with what defines the book.
Agreed. There are some really uninspiring titles here, but I guess it's the story that counts!
Originally Posted by Igor
the Skull Bender...?
And Dan has thrown me a title thread!
Back way back, I got to play with a flip chart (made out of paper squares on metal loops!) that someone had created with words that you could flip around to make romance novel titles, which was hilarious because the random grouping of words would totally work for the romances. These title generators on the Net work on the same principle, just with more words. But the problem remains the same, fantasy novel titles have gotten way too generic and largely meaningless. They don't have to be. They are not constrained like mysteries to have some sort of suspense signal in the title, or romance to have some sort of romance signal in the title. Science fiction does better, though not always, and there are sometimes interesting fantasy novel titles, because hey, there are thousands of the things, but the standard title for fantasy novels are ones like these from the list:
The Silver Crystal
Path of the Mage
I think I blame acronyms for this. In fantasy, titles aren't particularly important, at least for individual books. Sometimes they are just series variations under the main series' title. And when we talk about them, we're constantly using acronyms, unless it is the more rare one word title. It's gotten to the point where I often have to look up an author's book list to know to which book the acronym refers. It's made publishers revert to lazy word salad a lot of the time, instead of crafting something that fits the book and series. They are not horrible titles at all; they're just very interchangeable and kind of bland. How many times do we need to call books Sword of Fire? (Enough apparently that we had the satiric fantasy show Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire.)
I have actually bought and/or read novels just because they had an interesting title. Just recently: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland (which was very nice, though not quite as comic as you might expect.) It also had a good cover. A one word title like Green by Jay Lake interests me. (Also helps to have a good cover like that one had.) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Going Postal. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats. In the Forest of Hands and Teeth (okay, it has forest in it, but it's at least a bit more distinctive.) Silently and Very Fast.
I don't think we need to ban words like shadow, crystal, sword, blood, kingdom, moon, etc., or the various colors, but when I get the release news from publishers, I'm often ending up groaning. It's not a new problem; it's just there are so many titles now, it pops up more visibly. Or rather, less visibly -- it's getting very hard to remember them. And I do think in the Net era, that's a problem.
That all being said, the titles on your list that stick out for me, Dan, besides the two or three SF titles I don't think would work for you much, are:
The Dust Fountain
Those are word salads that make me more curious.
I rather liked Rubble Kingdoms as well, and also The Mana Tree. I have no idea what the latter might actually mean, but it sounds nice.
A lot better than Skull Bender <snigger> anyway...
Where Kings Die
From what you offered, I liked Moon Throne and Fire Meadow.
Crossroad Pyre is really quite good.
I like that one.
Some of those read like a list of Magic cards.
I don't know, The Diamond Slayer might be interesting.
How does one kill a diamond anyway?
That, and so many "paths". Something like that could easily go "B movie" on you. (The threefold switchback path of total destruction.) Be more creative. I seriously believe my story "Fairies Don't Flirt" has been downloaded so many times because of the title.
And, sorry I guess I've seen it too much, but I don't want to look at anything with "Mage" in the title. It's like a superhero story with ANY synonym of "super" in it. It reads like fingernails on the chalkboard.
FYI- The Tewa word for path is Poah-- pronounced like Poe. There's no rule against using non-english words in your title.
Thanks. I was thinking Silver Crystal could go somewhere, but I guess not after all.
What about The Shadow Shard? I like that one a bit better. Or The Time Shard? Swords of Fire and Rings of Control/Invisibility have been done. But a crystal (or something) that stops time? That's actually powerful. You can do all sorts of stuff with time control. Like raise an army in secret, and seemingly in an instant. You could kill the king and properly dispose of any and all evidence at your leisure. You could... seemingly teleport. So many more options I can't think of right now, but the only limit is imagination. I mention this because I'm working on my first fantasy novel, and so far that's what I think the Artifact of Doom (TM) should do. I'm just not sure what it should *be*.
Doesn't have to be a crystal, mind you. But when I think time being frozen, my mind says 'crystal'. Or statue.
It could be any number of objects though. A staff. A bowl. A ring (*puts hate-deflecting shields up*). A hat. A statue (hmm, that one actually seems appropriate, as statues immortalise a person for history's sake).
Good to see a few of those were inspiring. I particularly liked Mana Tree, but I don't know how such a (titular?) tree would work, logistically.
Obviously, titles should reflect the work within, and not be a tacked-on last-minute addition. That's just sloppy.
PS: Yeah, I don't know why, but damn there were a lot of 'path' results in that list. Crazy.
PPS: Should I make a tangent thread for brainstorming etc the new (first) fantasy book I'm writing?
If you want to, you can make a separate thread.
I would strongly suggest that you try a novel I finished recently, called Well of Sorrows by Benjamin Tate. Not a grand title there, nor its sequel title Leaves of Flame. But the book is quite good and relevant to you because it involves time travel and some of the things you are talking about. (Not a crystal though.) I think you might want to look at how Tate did his story, which is set in a secondary world that has some similarities to late 1600's America. And the races in it have some deliberate similarities to elves and dwarves but are most decidedly not those things and really interesting.
That a title word is used a lot doesn't mean you can't use it, and I hope I didn't imply that I thought it should. Nor does it mean it's a bad idea in my view to build a story around a crystal, a vampire, an eternal flame, etc. I just think in general, at this point in fantasy fiction history, the publishers could do better on the titles with more variance. Words like crystal, flame, shard, etc. are used a lot in fantasy titles. And that is again partly because publishers are trying to signal that it's a fantasy work, but it also just can blur a book in with a lot of other books. Then again, it hasn't hurt many successful books to have titles like that.
So a title can be a great jumping off point. It's just that titles like Path of the Moon Throne do tend to cause my eyes to glaze over. But then again, I bought Well of Sorrows (a title which is relevant to the story,) because I had heard good things about it and liked an interview the author had done. And it happened to pay off.
I would urge you to look at, though, what it is about particular titles and the idea of playing with time that most interested you. Because that's where the story will be. It's the thing that catches our attention that creates the spinning. Fiction authors are magpies.
Thanks KatG, I wasn't 100% sure what your view was, but I agree about there being a lot of the "same old" titles out there and would prefer to stay away from going the cliche route. That's why the project is playing with cliches.