Now that Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel has been published (Woot!), I’m starting to look at what’s next. Isaac is already working on expansion card ideas, and he will soon be creating the rules document for his upcoming Phalanx game. I’m going to be working on writing the rest of The Shadow War, and I also need to start formatting the book we co-wrote, Distant Horizon, since that’s otherwise ready to go (minus proofreading, which I plan to do after the basic formatting is in place).
However, there are still a few things that remain to be worked out.
For one, the series title.
There’s a lot of ways you can go with a series title. You can name it after the first book (The Hunger Games, Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1). You can give it some kind of cycle/chronicles/saga title (Twilight, The Twilight Saga, Book #1 // Eragon, The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1 // The Horse and His Boy, Chronicles of Narnia, Book 3). You can name it after the main character (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter #1). You can name it after a group in the series (Steelheart, The Reckoners, Book 1 // Among the Hidden, The Shadow Children, Book 1).
There are all sorts of options.
Needless to say, I’ve been trying to brainstorm ideas for what Isaac and I might call the Distant Horizon series.
The simplest option, of course, would be to call it that. The Distant Horizon series. The concept spans all five planned books, and to some extent covers the stand-alone books involved in the story’s cycle.
Before I go too much further, let’s take a quick look at what Isaac and I have planned.
Distant Horizon – Effectively the first book. Follows the main character, Jenna Nickleson.
Glitch – Stand-alone novel that overlaps the time between book 1 and 2. Follows Tim Zaytsev.
Fractured Skies – The second book that follows Jenna Nickleson.
The Little One – Ties into final planned book of the series, but this is very much a stand-alone novel. This is really more of a prequel, and follows the characters of Little One and Knight, several decades before the events of Distant Horizon. Written 3rd person, multiple points of view, whereas the others are in 1st person with a single narrator.
Changing Tides (?) – The title may go to the 3rd or 4th book, we aren’t sure yet). The third book that follows Jenna.
Coalition Sign – Another prequel, entirely stand-alone, which details the origins of the team Jenna joins with. Takes place a few years after The Little One.
“Distant Horizon Book 4” – Currently untitled. 4th Book following Jenna. Ties up main story arc, but opens a new direction.
“Distant Horizon Book 5” – Currently untitled. Not sure about the details of this one, though Isaac and I have discussed bits and pieces of the story arc. Not sure yet whether this will be styled more like The Little One or the rest of the Distant Horizon series, and it might not even be included in the technical “series.” However, it does conclude the cycle which starts in The Little One.
As you can see, we’ve got a few options. Within this, I’ve been referring to this cluster as the Distant Horizon series. That covers all the books that pertain to that story arc, even if they aren’t directly in that time frame.
Alternatively, I’ve thought of calling it The Distant Horizon Cycle (which, if I remember right, I don’t think Isaac was fond of), which would reference the cyclical nature of the full story.
Personally, I don’t want to call it The Distant Horizon Saga, because that reminds me too much of The Twilight Saga (Nothing against the books, just not my cup of tea). Plus, I’m not sure it really follows the definition of a saga. (Or, well, after reading that definition, minus the Norse bit, maybe it does. Might have to give this title a second consideration).
We could call it The Jenna Nickleson Chronicles, but not only do I trip up on Jenna’s name as a series title (though I had thought of calling the first book The Mysterious World of Jenna Nickleson… which doesn’t fit the mood of the book), we’ve already got The Multiverse Chronicles. (Which, I might add, is tied into the Distant Horizon series.)
Other options I had considered were relating the series name to themes or symbolism from the book.
Based on that, I brainstormed:
The Distant Horizon Series
Seeds of Memory
Seeds of Time
The Lady of the Vine
Child of the Future/Child of the Past
A Lady of the Cog Novel
The Rising Sun Cog/Rising Cog
A Novel of the Rising Cog
Cycle of Memory/Cycle of Memories
The Telepath Chronicles
The Jenna Nickleson Series
Roots of Time/Leaves of Time
Stone Cycle/Circle of Stone series
Coalition Sign (as a series name, instead of a single book title)
Several of these I threw out immediately, for various reasons. Some were focused specifically on Jenna (anything plant related), and some didn’t work for all the books (Coalition Sign wouldn’t work for Glitch, which is focused more heavily on the Camaraderie– the opposing faction).
Others simply don’t have the feel that Isaac and I are going for with this series (Lady of the Cog would be better suited for focusing on a certain character from the Camaraderie, and doesn’t have the dystopian/science fiction feel that might be better suited for the series, and The Travelers really should reference a specific group we don’t see until later, not the main characters).
The Lady of the Vine does fit for parts of the series, but it might lean too much into possible spoiler territory, or not make sense until later in the series. Better to have something that ties in from the get-go.
Child of the Future/Child of the Past… I keep thinking of Little One’s character here, even though Jenna could also fit that category.
Something referencing the rising sun half-cog (one of the Camaraderie’s symbols) might work, as that symbolism is present in all of the books mentioned. However, it would need a bit more tweaking, since this series is not specifically about the Camaraderie. Not sure if further tweaks might be a bit wordy, too. The Fall of the Rising Sun Half-Cog. *Ahem.* See what I mean?
The Telepath Chronicles… this actually sounds cool to me, and telepathy does play a large part in all the books (mostly in that they tend to play the part of the antagonists), but I’m not sure it quite fits what we’re going for. Might keep the title in mind though for other book ideas…
Roots of Time/Leaves of Time… Maybe the first one, though I want to say that feels more historical, and the second one just doesn’t sound catchy to me.
Seeds of Memory… Oh, the references it would make for Jenna’s storyline, and it’s kind of referenced in Little One’s storyline, and… hmm. It does play a role in Glitch…
Distant Horizon, Seeds of Memory Book 1
Glitch, A Seeds of Memory Novel (I don’t know, Glitch, A Companion to the Distant Horizon series might have a better ring)…
But is this series title memorable?
Might not be quite as obvious in the first book as in the second, but it does play with the idea of Jenna’s plant powers, and references a particular telepathic ability that causes all sorts of problems for the main characters across all the books.
Essentially, there’s a lot of ways Isaac and I could go with naming the series, and I need to talk to Isaac and see what his thoughts are… you know… seeing as how he created the world and the majority of the characters in this world.
The point is, brainstorming a lot of options, then narrowing down the best ones can help you decide what might work best. Or maybe help you think of an idea you hadn’t thought of before. Granted, it’s a good idea to Google-search your ideas to see if any already have a popular book series to their name that you don’t know about or haven’t considered.
(This method is how we came up with The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel title).
Whatever the series title, it should be catchy, memorable, and somehow relate to the books. I’ve noticed that I tend to jump back and forth about what I call The Wishing Blade series, even though that’s it’s official title. So you might also consider, what comes naturally when talking about the books?
I hope you’ve found this post helpful for your own writing. 🙂
Thoughts? Have you had any experience trying to figuring out a good series title? Noticed something that didn’t work?
Are there any of the titles I brainstormed up there that you really like or don’t like? How come?
4 responses to “Thoughts on Writing – Series Titles”
The title I liked best was Telepath Chronicles. As I read past that, I found you like it very much but it doesn’t fit any of the books you have in mind. So. I like it because I’m interested in telepathy and that subject alone draws me. But telepathy may be common in many or most of your works. I haven’t read enough yet to know. I’m amazed at how many book you have written, have in mind, and how they intersect. I thought I produced a lot of work, but not in comparison with you. Ah, there’s two of you–you nd Isaac. Anyhow, fascinating creative couple.
Thanks for your input. I’ve still got to show these ideas to Isaac, so maybe he’ll like it, too. Not sure yet. Another idea I had was “Seeds of the Mind.”
But most of our stories seem to have telepathy involved in some form or another. So much so that I tend to have to remember that there are plenty of other powers and magic types to draw from for characters. 🙂
But yes, it definitely helps that Isaac and I work together. 🙂
I like the sound of ‘The Telepath Chronicles’ quite a bit!!
You’re the second person to say you like that particular name. We may have to give “The Telepath Chronicles” some serious thought. Not sure yet what we’ll go with, but thanks for chiming in. 🙂