Well, I was going to be talking about what first breathed life into the books known as ‘Evo’ and ‘the Untitled Thing’, but I’m tired of calling the Untitled Thing ‘the Untitled Thing’, so it’s time to give it a title, and ramble on about titles for a while as well.
Of the five books I have ongoing, Dolorelamia is the oldest, and among other entries in the notebook I have that relates to its creation, there is a page devoted to trying to come up with a title for the blasted thing. It is a page of woe, wherein I tried to come up with a title that reflected the themes and motifs of the book—not woeful because I couldn’t think of any, but woeful because everything I thought of was terrible.
‘Emerald Night’—the name of the organisation the MC belongs to, however the book was unfortunately not about that organisation, nor was there any double meaning to the words.
‘The Simnel Incident’—an incident in the book, but again not what the book was about.
‘The Blue Flame Dilemma’—referring to one of the religions I made up for the book, a fire-based religion wherein the blue flame referred to healing. It was kind of a theme in the book, but it just didn’t work as a title.
‘The Red Flame Factor’—similar to the one above, in the religion in question a red flame is a flame of victory and conquest, which again simply didn’t fit.
‘Emerald Shadows’—referring back to the first one, this one just didn’t make any sense. It was like, ‘I know, I’ll put the word ‘shadow’ in the title, then it’ll sound cool…’ when in actual fact it just sounds kind of stupid. Apologies to anyone who’s written a book called ‘Emerald Shadows’.
‘Garbage Day’—this was where I gave up and started referencing internet memes to make myself laugh.
But when you think about the main literary phenomena of the past little while, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Hunger Games’, ‘Game of Thrones’, you’ll notice the titles aren’t trying too hard. Harry Potter is about a guy called Harry Potter. The Hunger Games is about a tournament called ‘the Hunger Games’. Game of Thrones is the least literal of the lot, but still, it’s about a fight for a throne which is characterised as a game many times in the book.
On the other hand the title for the series as a whole, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ is more on the metaphorical side; cold and heat are important themes in the book, and though I believe the title is name-dropped on an occasion or two in reference to a prophecy, it’s not extremely important in the books so far. But then, I don’t really like that title.
‘Twilight’ and the books in that series is another one. I mean, there’s not really anything I can come up with as an alternate title for those books, nothing that isn’t making fun of it at any rate. It just… kind of sounded cool (well, not anymore maybe) I needed to stop thinking about what might sound ‘cool’, and start looking at what the book was actually about. So I said to myself: title the book after something that is, you know, in the book. And thus:
‘Dolorelamia’ is about two people trying not to let darkness overcome them, in a world wherein there is a mythical creature called Dolorelamia who feeds off the darkness of the human soul. The creature becomes more significant later on in the book, though I don’t want to give too much away.
‘Rooks of the Knot’ is set in a place where order is enforced by soldiers called ‘Rooks’, protected by a forcefield called the ‘Knot’, and the characters are vastly impacted by both these elements.
‘Evo’ is told from the perspective of a young girl, about a mysterious boy who comes into her life whose nickname is Evo.
‘518’ takes place on an Earth occupied by alien invaders, suddenly thrust into the wider galaxy of hundreds of other intelligent species, of which Humans are the 518th.
So what about the Untitled Thing? This is set in a medieval fantasy alternate universe, following a young girl who is captured and forced into slavery on the other side of the world, as a handmaiden to a young boy who is heir to a vast dukedom. When the dukedom is attacked by rival claimants, she must flee with the boy on a dangerous journey, accompanied only by the creature that facilitated their escape: a demon that had been locked in a palace basement for centuries.
Now, I have known for some time that I’ve wanted the book to be called after the demon, and there’s a kind of feeling in the back of my head that his name should start with an ‘A’. I’ve written out a family tree for the dukes (I’ll post that on Friday along with the Selena), so I have an idea of the kind of names they use in that part of that world, which was influenced by all the anime I watch though they’re not strictly Japanese names.
The boy, for instance, is called ‘Daizeki’, son of ‘Daiki’. The main character, once their name is changed to make it easier for her masters to pronounce, is called ‘Zekanta’, her brother ‘Tezu’ and they are bought by Daiki’s cousin, a man called ‘Kendai’. You’ll see several other examples on the tree.
One of the rules I made up for this language, is that they did not use the letters ‘L’ or ‘R’, so that’s out. One might also notice that unlike the tree done for the main character’s family, names are never more than three syllables long, but the demon is, well, a demon, so I’d like to give him a longer and grander name. Maybe with some hyphens in it, that sounds good.
This has the added bonus of allowing people to shout ‘KHAAAAAAAAAN’, but is that really a bonus I want? Tempting though it may be, I’ll have to pass for the sake of solemnity.
Yes, that works. And he deserves an epithet too, like ‘the terrible’ or ‘the monstrous’. Let’s let Word look for some synonyms… Again I’m tempted to use ‘outrageous’, just so I can say that ‘Ah-Seti-Ten is truly, truly, truly outrageous’, but again I must hold myself back and use ‘dreadful’.
Ah-Seti-Ten the Dread
And so the Untitled Thing has a Title! Huzzah!