Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Names

Ooh la la! Es Hannah, in accordance with prophecy.

(Don't bother making sense of the preceding sentence.)

Hey! One of fellow blogging acquaintances just announced a two-week hiatus. What a coincidence! We just had one of those! Unplanned and unannounced though it was. And completely my fault, really. It was my turn to post, and I just went, "Huh." And then chronic procrastination and so on.... So I'm going to pick up the slack again. Sorry.

As always, I am having trouble picking a subject for a post. Trinity has been doing a lot of writing posts lately. But I can't make myself post my stuff because two reasons:

1) It's not very good.
2) I have a morbid fear of releasing a single secret about what's going to happen in my books.

So what on earth do I do if I don't post some of my work, some of my writing, on this writing blog...

I will find out.

Today I'll say something about a subject I've been considering. Names. Specifically, the names or titles of books.

In fiction, names have a lot of power. Just read the Inheritance Cycle, that's got names written all over and up and down it. At one point I started reading a series (I think it was Animorphs), and they mentioned a lot about powerful names. And I know that names are important on books. It's one of the first things that you register when you look at the book, along with whatever picture is on the cover. It's what you refer to the book by ("...hey, I just finished reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer, it was awesome..."). It's one of the most important things about a book, for a writer.
And please tell me how everyone out there chooses a title for their books. I am going bonkers. And a bonkers me is not a rational or sensible person.

Looking at names of popular books (popular fiction books, I should say), I'm trying to find a trend. A few noticable characteristics are that the name is intriguing, that it's to the point, and that it doesn't give anything away. Usually. It makes you curious: "Where is Gorlan, and what are these Ruins?" It doesn't go on and on, like this: "Hey, have you read The Really Big Battle At The End Of A Super Exciting Book Where There's This Guy That Meets A Girl Who Fakes Her Death So Please Read This Book? It's really interesting." And you can't go: "Ooh, here's a cool book. The name is Trouble... I bet at the end they all die, except for the main character, who ends up loses his left elbow in a street fight with the gangster that killed his grandmother on his father's side, the one who raised him from a child and was actually a nurse during World War II. Huh."
Here's a list of trends I noticed:

1. A description of a person. A dramatized name for the main character, or one of the main characters. It could be used as their title in battle, like, "Look, it's The Chosen One!" for Harry Potter, or "Beware, The Thunderer," for Thor. These are everywhere. Just look at some of your favorite books, or the favorite books of a sibling.
For example:
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Queen Of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Oh, and as you may have noticed, most or all of these titles start with the word the. It seems to be mandatory. But it must still work (all of these books are best-sellers, aren't they?).

2. An object in the book. Maybe it's the one object the main character is questing for, like the Sorcerer's or Philosopher's Stone. or maybe it just shows up, like the Silver Chair.
The Goblet Of Fire by J. K. Rowling
The Mark Of Athena by Rick Riordan
The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer
The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis
The Candlestone by Bryan Davis
Hey, these names start with "the" too!

3. An organization. A bunch of people or a secret society. Slightly less common, but still out there.
The Fellowship Of The Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Order Of The Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

4. An event. The Big Party, The Happy Moment, The Time Of Awesome... you know.
The Battle Of The Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
The Return Of The King by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
The Siege Of Macindaw by John Flanagan
The Darkest Moment by Erin Hunter
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

5. A place.  An important location. Most of the book probably depends on this very place!
Isle Of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson
The Chamber Of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Icebound Land by John Flanagan
Forest Of Secrets by Erin Hunter
Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

6. A short word. Brief but vague. Probably a name or a description. This has been used a lot in recent movies released, like Brave and Tangled and Oblivion.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Eldest by Christopher Paolini
Outcast by Erin Hunter
Magyk by Angie Sage

7. A vague term. Maybe something that a character said, like Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time.
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Dragon's Breath by E. D. Baker
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Venom and Song by Christopher Hopper and Wayne Thomas Batson
Circles Of Seven by Bryan Davis

And second only to the book title in importance (or maybe it surpasses it) is the main character's name! Like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Leven Thumps, and Artemis Fowl. Maybe that's why there are so many "This Person and...", like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Everyone knows the name of the main character. It's probably an easy to remember name - Harry Potter. Like Paul Bunyan. To the point. If it were something like Xavier Beauregard... you know, it'd be harder to say Xavier Beauregard and The Chamber Of Secrets. We'd call them something like: The Wizard Kid series, The Irish Genius Chronicles, and The Adventures of the Demigod Dude.

I like making lists. They make everything so orderly! But mostly I only do it when writing, because if I didn't have a sense of organization, my head would explode.

So that's the end of my random thoughts on the matter. It's hard to keep up with Trinity's more exciting posts about.... them. But we will try to start posting more regularly. Adios, amigos!


  1. This was very helpful:) By the way, I love literally all the books you used as examples:)


    1. Thanks! And wow, even I haven't read all of the books I used for examples. The Royal Ranger, for instance, by John Flanagan... it's not coming out until October. I can hardly wait!


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