How do you come up with titles? Game Theory specifically.
I usually just…make them up. And sometimes I research them. I get mad if it takes me longer than thirty minutes to think of a title, lol.
Game Theory - Is an economic, political and psychological series of mathematical models used to find the optimal way to win games. Specifically, it can be used to find the optimal strategy in chess. Augus was King of the Unseelie (the black king on the chessboard) and Gwyn was King of the Seelie (the white king). Game Theory just seemed to fit those two playing mindgames with each other in the beginning. I have since been advised that if I want to publish, I may need to trash the title, since it doesn’t scream ‘fantasy erotica’ or sounds more like a non-fiction manual.
I came up with it in about 20 minutes, researching chess movies, since I knew I wanted the title to be based on chess moves. I’m pretty sure that was just ‘Wiki led me here in 20 minutes and I don’t hate it.’
I was lazy with The Golden Age that Never Was and From the Darkness We Rise / Into Shadows We Fall. (In retrospect, the titles are way better flipped - even though I can justify why they’re not, even I recognise that book one should’ve been called Into Shadows We Fall and book two should’ve been called From the Darkness We Rise lol)
The Court of Five Thrones I brainstormed, though I can’t find the
piece of paper where I wrote down a thousand ideas. I wanted it to have
a proper fantasy-esque title. And it also gave me something to anchor
into towards the end of Game Theory and throughout COFT. The Ice Plague was
pretty easy, since it was just named after what the central issue is in
the series, lol. Also it was unique. There’s no other book called that.
Stuck on the Puzzle is named after an Alex Turner song, where the lyrics don’t quite fit but the chorus is perfect: ‘When I saw your fingers dimming the lights, like you’re used to being told that you’re trouble, and I spent all night, stuck on the puzzle.’ While the story is told from Cullen’s perspective, the title is actually from Bull’s. (Though it works for both.) Took about 20 minutes to think of that one.
The Wind that Cuts the Night is from a Radioface song called ‘Pound of Flesh.’ I was on a Radioface bender at the time, but it’s possible to get 4 million titles for a story from Radioface songs, lol.
Blackwood was originally The Lost Wolves of Blackwood and I legit brainstormed about 60 titles over several months and was never happy with any of them. It included titles like ‘Lens Flare’ and ‘Far from Home’ and ‘The Blackwood Alpha’ and the absolutely fucking terrible ‘the Beta that Wasn’t’ (haha it’s so bad, I had to put it here). *cringe* (Also, that was never a serious candidate, I feel like it’s worth noting that brainstorming is about putting down the worst ideas along with everything else, just to get it out of your head and make room for new ideas lol).
The Wildness Within was one of those grabby ‘came up with it in ten minutes’ titles. I don’t like to overthink titles, because generally speaking, I think a lot of titles are actually shitty and unmemorable (for all books in general), and what I love most about stories are the story. Like, I don’t love The Golden Age that Never Was but it’s too late to change the title now, and everyone calls it Golden Age or TGA or TGATNW or whatever. This does have the downside of me choosing genuinely terrible titles sometimes for things I’m going to spend more than a year working on.
But yeah, I…don’t believe in ‘perfect’ titles. Though I am pretty chuffed with COFT and TIP. I hate titling short stories the most, and actually just tend to title them simply. ‘Street Dancer’ was about *drumrolls* a street dancer. And ‘The Repairer’ was about *drumrolls* a repairer. Winter Syndicate, my sci fi series is about…a Syndicate set in a place that has three versions of winter, lol, and very few other seasons. TGATNW is pretty much what it says on the tin - it’s about a Golden Age that isn’t really very Golden Age-y at all.