>> Saturday, December 19, 2009
(Book and title chosen to head the article because I love Stephanie Burgis' short stories and can't wait for her novel, A Most Improper Magick (April 2010)... plus I like the title.)
Titles are one of the (many) banes of my existence (writing-wise), compounded by the fact I usually need a title before I can properly work on a story. Head, meet desk. Often. ("Aha, we meet again, Sir Desk!")
There's some words I (personally) dislike in titles--not so much reading them (hey, one of the Dresden Files books is titled Blood Rites) as "words I will avoid if at all possible and if not possible, THERE WILL BE BLOOD" in my own titles. Just because I want to avoid them doesn't mean I don't want to see them at all in titles. ;)
Blood**, for example. My immediate associations with that in the titles end up being vampires and horror. Yeah, there are a lot of fantasy novels and thrillers and mysteries, etc, with the word "blood" in the titles, too. (If you go to Amazon, filter a search for "blood" through books, you will see somewhere around 600,000 or more results. Sure, not all will be unique, and there's a good deal of non-fiction in there too, but you get the idea.)
There's also death (again--I think of horror elements and dark fantasy and vampires). I'm not so opposed to it if you're using it to indicate Death as a personification or character itself--I'm talking about the ones like "Halls of Death [and DOOM, bwhahaha!]".
Dead* naturally brings zombies to mind. And vampires. After that, my associations wander between more dark fantasy and mysteries or thrillers.
*Okay, I realized I've used "dead" in a title. Twice, actually, when I think about it. The first was "They Dreamed of Dead Ships," a horror serial, and I liked how it turned out, title-wise. The other, naturally, involves zombies. "Dead Tide" is the zombie octopi story.
**ETA: Dude. I also realized I have one with "Blood" too. o.O The ship serial, again. "Blood Tide" is the fifth and final part.
Son of ETA: Two. I had a story ages ago called "Blood Rewards", which had vampires (and elves). It got scrapped and turned into a novella-project dubbed Winter Kin instead. Yes, it still has vampires and elves. What? It's dark high fantasy and there's a reason it's been pushed into the cold storage bin. ;)
As much as I like to use the word dark in stories, it's another title word I avoid due to having seen it a lot. It's a milder case--I tend to like it more than some other title words
For fantasy, sword--unless used humorously--is one of those I sort of cringe a bit seeing. (I blame the Sword of Truth series.) It seems to be a very fantasy-title word. There's nothing wrong with it, I'm just not enamored with it as a word to use in my titles. Scimitars, now... mmmm.
Words I like? There's way too many to list, but off the top of my head: Necromancer(s), goblin(s), Hell, sun, moon, shadow, fire, glass, gentleman/gentlemen, steam, gears/clock/cool words like that, anything with ferrets or weasels or mustelids in general, wicked, demon(s), scar(s), hero(es), chaos, sand, mercenary...
C'mon, you can't be that surprised at my list. ;)
What are words you like/dislike in titles? (Yours or not.)