Tuesday, May 9, 2023

What's In a Story Title?

Posted by: Deborah A Bailey

Sometimes titles for my stories come to me before I start writing. Sometimes they come as I'm working on the draft. But there are those times when I have no idea what the title should be. That's when I try to do a bit of brainstorming (and research) to see what might be a good fit. 

I came up with the title for my novella, Metamorphosis, years ago when I wrote a rough draft. The published novella isn't the same as my original idea, but the title still fits. 

As in my original story idea, Asira is also a student from a prominent family. She studies hard and focuses on advancement to the Golden Court of the Alchemists (which should be enough for someone in her position). However, she feels something is missing in her life. 

She's a student of transmutation, and she seeks out Jaydon (the hero) because he's an expert in that discipline. What she doesn't expect is that Jaydon doesn't agree with the strict class system. He loves study and has a gift for reading the magical Books of Fire. And he's happy that his ability allows him to remain outside of the system.

Jaydon is outside of the strict class system because he's from one of the portal worlds. Having not grown up on the Floating World of the Alchemists, he has an entirely different outlook.  

His own transformation came when puberty gave him special abilities allowing him to read the magical books. As a gargoyle shifter he understands what it's like to change from one thing to another. However, his special abilities are what brought him to the attention of the Alchemists. His life changed because of a transition he couldn't control. 

In life we have many periods of transition – chiefly the time when we go from child to teen then to adult. Physical changes. Emotional changes. Mental changes. We're not the same as we once were. Those changes can bring happiness or confusion (depending on your point of view). And as adults we may make different plans for our lives. 

As a writer, I can ask those questions inside of my fantasy and science fiction stories. But even though my characters are fictional beings, they can reflect human experiences. Life is change and hopefully we can find happiness and satisfaction along the way.

Because Metamorphosis is a romantic fantasy, Asira and Jaydon manage to find each other. They learn how to make their own choices as they claim new directions for their lives. My title turned out to be a fit for the characters' individual experience and for the overall theme. At the end of the story they're open to a new world (or new worlds) of possibilities. 

Yes, titles can be a challenge. But when I find one that I like, it's perfect. I hope at the end of the story the reader feels the same way. 

You can read more about Metamorphosis here: https://authordebbailey.com/worlds-of-fire-series/metamorphosis/



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