Modern Fantasy – A Title At Last!

Hi everyone!

Just how important is a title?  Can a good novel with a bad title still become a success?  Can a bad novel with a good title still earn a writer a living?

The title is often the very first thing we see of a book, coupled with its binding display or even the cover if the novel is turned to face outward at the bookstore or library.  It has to be eye-catching, and has to be appealing to our target audience, which means it has to fit the genre of the novel.

Keeping all of these things in mind, I’ve struggled to come up with a title for my newest story, the modern fantasy I’ve been writing about here.  How do you capture the spirit of a modern fantasy without making it sound cheesy?

Images Source - http://bramleegwater.deviantart.com
Images Source – http://bramleegwater.deviantart.com

I’ve thrown a lot of titles around in my head, asked others for opinions on some of them.  For a while the contender was something like “The Guardians of the Barrier” Or “The Sentinels of Magic”, referring specifically to the group that protects the Barrier that blocks all magic on Earth.  I’ve even tried to come up with a good title that reflects the three protagonists, but nothing sounded right to me.

This struggle to find a title quickly became frustrating.  Finally I ended up spending a couple of hours just sitting down trying to find a title.  I looked up synonyms for various words, like Sentinel or Guardians, or Barrier.  I had a list of words on a word document and tried to figure out how to put them together into a coherent and fitting title.

Of course, one of the things to consider is whether or not there’s a novel or series out there already using a title, and this was another roadblock I ran into.  I thought I had come up with the perfect title, and found that there were no fantasy novels by that name.  Then when I did just a general search for the title, I found there was a science fiction that used the title I had come up with.

What finally helped me figure it out was by analyzing the warriors who protect the Barrier, who stand watch over Earth and protect humanity from the strange creatures that fall through the cracks.  Originally I called them the Guardians, but I realized a more fitting title for this group was Sentinel, which was a name I had considered using earlier.

And so I’m excited to announce that I finally have a title for my new project!!

The Chronicles of the Sentinels

This will be the primary title for each novel in the series, while I’ll also have a subtitle for each one, similar to the novels I’m trying to find an agent for now, The Sword of Dragons (book 1 has no subtitle, while book 2 has the subtitle “Burning Skies”).

I don’t know what the subtitle for the first Chronicles book will be (one thing at a time!) but I’m glad I now have a specific title for this project and don’t have to refer to it as “that modern fantasy story” anymore :)

Let me know what you all think!  Love it?  Hate it?  I love hearing from you all!

-Jon

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7 thoughts on “Modern Fantasy – A Title At Last!”

    1. Thanks! Not sure what the picture is from but it was one of the only examples I could find of three wizards, one male two female, so it works :)

  1. Love the concept art! As you may have read, I too had a very hard time choosing a title for this WIP. I like what you picked though! A possible suggestion: Take out the first “the” so it flows a bit better, in my opinion. Chronicles of the Sentinels. Feel free to disregard, but I thought I would suggest it! Good luck :)

    1. Hi Victoria!

      I was debating about keeping “the” in there. Taking it out does kind of sound better, and it feels a bit more concise that way… Thanks! :)

  2. Coming from an Artists point of view; we can our be our best and worst critics! Ive taken College vocabulary, creative writing, professional speaking and communications & I’ve learned an abundance of things. Although a title can be everything such as the concept of: First impressions can mean everything. people in general will be very judgemental and I do believe one must not judge a book by its cover whether it be the name of the title or the artwork. a brief explanation and summary in the back of the book explaining in details what the book is basically about does make a difference~ for now this is all I have I hope it does help in the future I may have a few more things to add good luck with your book and keep up the good work I do believe you will succeed…….

    1. While the statement of “Never judge a book by its cover” is very true (especially when it comes to people), when it comes to novels and marketing, the cover and the title are key to attracting a reader’s attention. Most bookstore or library patrons don’t read the back of every novel on the shelf. That cover and title has to capture their attention in such a way that they will pick up the book to check out the back cover (or in the case of hard-cover novels, the inner slips).

      Thanks for your comment, feedback, and encouragement!! :)

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