Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Titles Are Hard: update

Thank you all for your feedback! Especially Matthew, the ONLY PERSON to agree with me that “iron hinge” is evocative rather than dull.

Pete, *I* like your suggestion, but it’s pretty clear that “hinge” is not working for most people.

Given all your comments, I will definitely at least suggest The Winter Dragon as a title. Maybe my editor will agree with all of you.

So right now I guess I’m thinking of sending her this list on the “title page”, such as it is:

The Dark Turn of Winter (thanks, Allen, I like this variation on your suggestion)

The Wolf Duke (there’s the protagonist. One of them. And this is actually the secondary protagonist, not the primary.)

Wolf and Falcon (that refers to both protagonists)

The Winter Dragon (because I agree with all of you that this is a good title)

Thumbs up and thumbs down on the top three possibilities?

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14 Comments Titles Are Hard: update

  1. Robert

    I rather like both The Wolf Duke and Wolf and Falcon. Both are fairly evocative.

    The first could potentially give off a werewolf vibe, which may not be what you are going for.

    I like the juxtaposition of earth- and sky-based predators in the second.

  2. Yen

    What about The Wolf and The Falcon if referring to protagonists? I do like these all better than yesterday’s choices with The Dark Turn of Winter as my favorite. Though not above The Winter Dragon.

  3. Jo in OKC

    I like all the choices.
    My favorite is still The Winter Dragon, but Wolf and Falcon is good.

    The Dark Turn of Winter sounds kind of suspenseful.

    The Wolf Duke sounds like a regency romance.

  4. Allan Shampine

    These are pretty good.

    What about matching antagonist and protagonist? “Wolf and Dragon”

  5. mona

    The Iron Hinge of Winter is kinda growing on me, not gonna lie. But that’s after clarification that “hinge” is as in “turning point”.

    Otherwise I vote Wolf and Falcon.

  6. Sandstone

    I have to say that “The Winter Dragon” is my favorite of the above titles, without knowing anything about the book! I like “The Dark Turn of Winter” quite a bit too though, it is very evocative of the early, long nights in the wintertime.

    “Wolf and Falcon” makes me think of Judith Tarr’s medieval fantasy The Hound and the Falcon- I would expect a medieval fantasy grounded in Earth’s history or a military fantasy from that title.

    Similarly, for some reason the titles including “Iron Hinge” struck me as straight realistic historical or grittier historical based fantasy, probably not something I would look into just hearing the title.

    “The Wolf Duke” sounds like a courtly intrigue plot, possibly of the bloody anyone-can-die sort to me, but I like courtly intrigue stories enough that I’d seek it out- I think that one would depend a lot on its cover art to communicate the tone of the book.

  7. Rachel

    Thanks, Sandstone! I *knew* “Wolf and Falcon” was reminding me of something. That was it. It’s a medieval-ish setting, btw, but not at all grounded in real history.

    Now that you mention courtly intrigue, “The Wolf Duke” is making me think of historical romance, Regency or something, which would not really work either. Oh, I see Jo pointed that out! Yep, you are right, Jo. It doesn’t work for this story.

    Also, Robert makes a good point about “The Wolf Duke” maybe suggesting a werewolf kind of thing. No. No no no. Not this one.

    Mona, there, see? “Hinge” is a fine, evocative word! But, sigh, not if it’s going to make people think of mechanical items.

    Okay, at the moment I’m leaning toward “The Dark Turn of Winter” or (yes) The Winter Dragon. I will suggest both those and “Wolf and Falcon” and we’ll see what my editor says!

  8. Maureen E

    I think any of those are better than Iron Hinges! I think I like Wolf and Falcon best, although The Dark Turn of Winter is also a nice evocative phrase.

  9. Hanneke

    I like The Winter Dragon best, just as a title, but I think it would start me off reading with a slight bias in favor of the dragon, a bit of an expectation that the dragon would be the protagonist. If it’s made clear quickly enough that the dragon is the antagonist, that the story is about dealing with the dragon (especially if there’s a bit of an ensemble cast doing so) I wouldn’t mind if the book was named for the enemy. So was The Two Towers named for the two enemy towers that had to be dealt with.

    The Falcon and The Wolf (primary protagonist first) could work well, especially if the cover art shows both protagonists and gives some indication of the type of story (medieval-looking costumes/fantasy-elements in the background, or military trappings in a SFnal background, or whatever): because the title (nick)names the protagonists it doesn’t define the genre, there are still several directions the story could take.

    With The Dark Turn of Winter I’d need the cover art & back copy too, to signal that it won’t be too dark, grim or gritty for me. The same goes for The Iron Hinge of Winter, which sounds quite grim & gritty to me, unalloyed by any image.

    With the right kind of cover art and back copy any of these titles could work for me. I’d at least pick them up to check that out. The other titles that have been mentioned I don’t like as much.

  10. Macsbrains

    I think “The Winter Dragon” is fine, as both winter and dragons are selling points to me, but I think it’s on the generic side. On the shelf in front of me I have Elizabeth A. Lynn’s “Dragon’s Winter” as well as other books like “The Ice Dragon,” and “The Iron Dragon’s Daughter.” (I obviously have a thing for dragons since a quick query of my library shows no fewer than 30 titles with the word dragon in it, but) Point being, I’d buy it anyway, but why not try for more?

    I like “The Dark Turn of Winter” much better because it’s already setting the scene. I vote for this one.

    “Wolf and Falcon” or “Falcon and Wolf” also sell to me, because I love people with animal names. (I was just reading Beth Hilgartner’s “A Business of Ferrets” and “A Parliament of Owls” where all the best characters are named for animals. I also think you’d like these books, btw, consider this a recommendation.)

    The Wolf Duke, however, does not sell to me, partially for the romance/intrigue feel and partially because it’s a little plain.

  11. Kim Aippersbach

    The Dark Turn of Winter and Falcon make me think of that poem: “turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer” . . . The Second Coming, by Yeats.

    Have no idea if the poem has any relevance to the novel, but there you go.

    I agree with Macsbrains that The Winter Dragon is a little generic. Also kind of makes me think of Game of Thrones.

    I like “hinge”; I think it’s evocative. But “iron hinge” doesn’t sound good. “The Hinge of Winter” would make me curious—”Winter” cancels out the mechanical aspect of hinge and makes me assume it’s a metaphor, so I wonder what it’s a metaphor for.

  12. SarahZ

    I agree that Wolf Duke sounds werewolf/romance-y, although cover art could mitigate that. Also agree with Kim that losing “iron” improves hinge.
    I think Dark Turn is the most unique sounding, although you’d want to make sure it didn’t come off looking too grim (unless that’s accurate, I don’t know what the book is like, after all).

  13. Rachel

    You are all wonderful. Thanks so much for chiming in on the title!

    The story is not all that grim. *Pauses to consider story.* No, honestly, sometimes I am too familiar with the story to judge, but I don’t think this one is too grim, definitely not too gritty. This is the first one of mine where I would suggest parents might consider reading it before just handing it to, say, a twelve-year-old. No actual bedroom scenes, but a definite dark, sexy undertone.

    Heaven knows if the cover art will wind up really evoking the story. I’ve really liked the covers for The Keeper of the Mist and The Mountain of Kept Memory and The White Road of the Moon, so that’s three in a row. Can I be so lucky as to get four in a row? *Crosses fingers.*

    I’ll add “The Hinge of Winter” to the possible-title list, since a couple of you like that (and I do, too). I didn’t specifically have “The Second Coming” in mind, though I love that poem and used to have it memorized.

    The image and idea of the dragon is evolving during this revision, btw, becoming scarier and less like the noble sort of dragon.

    My favorite title now is The Dark Turn of Winter. We’ll see!

  14. elaine t

    I rather liked the iron + winter image – it evokes a really horrendous winter; it was the hinge combined with iron that wasn’t working. Dropping iron for Hinge of Winter is an improvement and would get my attention.

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