Titles are Hard

Not every title, of course. The Tuyo-series titles are pretty easy! Pick a name from something in the book and there you go, boom!

The Death’s Lady titles are much, much harder.

What should I do with this novella?

a) Give up and call it “Kuomat” after the main character.

b) Call it “Redemption” after the main theme.

c) Find a phrase from some John Donne poem or some other poem so that it matches the trilogy.

d) Make up some poetic sounding phrase.

I’m really not sure! I’ve looked at a fair bit of Donne’s poetry and nothing leaps out at me. Ditto with Milton’s Paradise Regain’d. I would really like a phrase that suggests redemption. Instead, the phrases that have caught my eye are things like “All Dead Years” and “Days Forsaken,” which are not necessarily inapposite, but certainly sound excessively grim. The story itself is not as grim as these titles would make it sound.

The cover is now underway, so … I had better think about this. A lot. Really soon.

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9 thoughts on “Titles are Hard”

  1. I think a matching poetic name would be essential here to make it clear that this is a novella in the Death’s Lady world, not the Tuyo sequence.

  2. I typically do not read poems so I cannot comment but option D sounds good.

    The year’s midnight
    of absence, darknesss
    as shadow, a light

    forsaken, redeemed?
    of loss, redemption?

  3. I personally do not like ‘Redemption’ as a title, simply because it takes some of the tension right out of the story at the outset. ‘Kuomat’ might work, but it’s more in line with the style of Tuyo than the Death’s Lady series.
    You might try looking to Dante’s Divine Comedy for phrases? I’m thinking specifically the Purgatorio, because it is principally concerned with redemption, but the Paradiso may also work. Granted, it’s not quite the same style of poetry, but . . . there might be something there that sparks an idea? I’m reading through it now, if I find anything that might work I’ll try to remember to drop it in the comments here.

  4. C is ideal; D is acceptable. I think Mary Beth is right about KUOMAT and E.C. about REDEMPTION. (Although looking through the entire Commedia, yikes).

    In terms of the Death’s Lady light imagery, the novella is about stepping — or being pushed, really, much more than Tenai was — out of the shadows/darkness into the light. Is there a searchable corpus of Donne to look for “dawn” or other appropriate words?

  5. I think you’re right on all counts, EC, and BY ALL MEANS drop any useful phrases in the comments or suggest them to me via email. I would be so grateful. I have looked at Dante, but not extensively. It’s really tiring to read poems specifically looking for possible book titles!

    Craig, I’ve actually tried that, but I haven’t found anything so far. I’ll try again because again, you’re exactly right about the fundamental movement in the story.

  6. The good thing about finding titles in Donne’s work is that you have a lot of options! The bad thing about finding titles in Donne’s work is that you have a lot of options…“redemption” is a theme that hangs over so much of his work. What if you stepped back and looked at the theme more vaguely? There are a lot of great phrases that can be interpreted with reference to honor/redemption/restoration. I don’t know a ton of his poetry off the top of my head, but l think these would go nicely with the titles in the main trilogy.

    “Difference of Air” – from Elegy VII (it doesn’t exactly fit your stated theme, but it’s a lovely phrase)
    “Honor’s Mimic” – from The Sun Rising
    “Light Enough” – Elegy II

  7. I love the way Htet Htet framed the series titles as a single poem and I definitely think you should add the next line of that poem.

    “The Morning Breaks” is the line that occurred to me immediately. (I think it’s from a hymn, but it’s a not-uncommon description of dawn.)

  8. I like “Honor’s Mimic.”
    It would be nice to stick with St. Lucy’s – you’ve mined it well. But perhaps “Even From Nothingness” hints at redemption? Or “A Lesser Sun” is nicely ambiguous.

  9. I like something with silver, for Kuomat’s eyes. In Silver, Honor? Silver Redemption? Redemption in Silver? Not from any poem, though

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