Okay, don't let this go beyond us. I don't want to upset anybody. And I'm very happy that the world population of readers is large enough to encompass so many thriving genres of novel. But you folks working in fantasy -- please stop with the twee titles. I'm not talking about the books themselves -- I'm sure they're all brilliant. It's the titles that gall.
For a while fantasy novels had curious names that sounded important and classical, like The Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. The best thing about The Silmarillion is the title.
Then Ursula K. Le Guin came along with The Wizard of Earthsea. I'm sure it seemed harmless enough at the time. But for years afterwards, your fantasy novel wasn't shit if it didn't have a preposterous compound word in the title. Let's see if you can guess which of these I made up, and which ones are real book titles?
The Farseer Trilogy
Heir to Sevenwaters
The Deadhouse Gates
DragonCrown War Cycle
The Dragonbone Chair
The Serpentwar Saga
It was a trick! I didn't make up any of those. Add to this peeve the Robert Ludlum school of titling: The Eftling's Lament, The Croftesblayde Covenant, and so forth. I did make those up. But there are dozens of these sorts of titles. And don't get me started with those possessive titles, cuz damn. The Saga of Grymlyng, A Rising of Shadows, The Unbeliever of Icefire, An Iota of Tombs. I made those up, too. But get thee to a bookstore and witness the real ones.
I think the motivation is pretty clear: you want to give your book a name that has that "ye olde" quality. It should sound important, yet witty, and convey a suggestion of literature, too. Like in five thousand years someone will excavate a mass-market paperback copy of A Ravening of Silverhawke and think it must be some famous story cycle because it's got a fancy name.
Right. Feeling much better. If you'll excuse me, I have to get back to writing my fantasy trilogy. The ThornWitch of Yggrasil's Heir was the first book. I'm on The Assassin of Melgard's Throne now.
I'm thinking the third book will be entitled The Dragonscale of Darkmage, but that might already be taken.
3 weeks ago