East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Finding a Title


aculeo&amunetNobody appreciates the problems of a sword & sorcery writer.

Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches on the next Aculeo & Amunet book.
Granted, two stories still need to be edited, but I see the finish line, and I’m pretty happy: after two novelettes published as stand-alone ebooks, I’m going for a collection – the next A&A outing will include four stories

  • Mirror of Amunet
  • The Witch with Green Eyes
  • Island of the Goat
  • The Crypts of Eskishaar

Three short stories and a novelette.
Plus a fair chunk of my usual babbling about the when, the how, the why-not.
Short Sprague-De-Camp-like introductory summaries to provide continuity.
Maybe even a map.
And a great cover.
The idea is to offer to my readers a meatier ebook, while expanding the series in new directions, and giving my characters some breathing room.

Now I only have a problem – the title for the book.

Conan_the_AvengerUsually finding a proper title for a story collection is not a prominent part in writing courses, you don’t find specific chapters onthe subject in writing handbooks.
Those in the know tell you to steal from the classics, or take inspiration from the great names in the field.
Yeah, right.
Lyon Sprague de Camp & Co. – or Lancer Books, if you will – had it really easy with their Conan collections.
They were all called Conan the [have your pick].
And Fritz Leiber?
Ah… Swords and/of/against [something or other].

2551823But what of Aculeo & Amunet?
A&A against… what?

Find some common theme, they tell you.
Let’s see – there’s a story set in Alexandria, one set in Palmyra, one set smack in the middle of the Mediterranean and one taking place somewhere in the Caucasus.
What am I gonna call it?
See the Ancient World on Less than Fifteen Millarensi a Day…?

Now this is the sort of problem over which I’m going to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort.

Then I’ll probably find some suitable chunk of poetry, use it as an epigraph, and steal a verse for the title.
Ah, all this is so frustrating.

And do not even start me thinking about the idea of taking two weeks more and add a fifth story to the mix… which on the other hand would probably solve the title problem.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

3 thoughts on “Finding a Title

  1. Maybe a bit too obvoius, but what abut “Aculeo & Amunet Adventures”? You have an allitteration with three ‘A’s that spund well, in my opinion. But it’s so banal that I’m sure you already thought about it.
    Or maybe “The voyages of A&A”?

    The problem is that those titles seem more suitable for the whole series rather than a single book in it, I don’t know…


  2. How about the good old formula, “The Witch With Green Eyes and Other Stories” – four (five) adventures of Aculeo & Amunet?


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