Jilly: Series Title Help

Fighting TalkDo you have a spare five minutes to help me try to find the perfect word or two for the titles of my romantic fantasy series?

I had a brilliant time at RWA in San Diego and I’ve returned to the UK inspired and raring to get back to work on Alexis. Pitching the book was really helpful as it made me pause, take a step back, and make sure I had a clear vision of what story I wanted to tell, in Book One and also for the whole series.

I’ve written linked stories before, but this is the first time I’ve attempted a series with the same main characters and an over-arching plot-line. I have the bare bones of how it’s all going to work, and a bucket full of ideas waiting to be fitted into that framework, but I think it would help me a lot if I had a clearer vision of the books themselves, especially their titles.

So if you’re in the mood for a little brainstorming, here’s the brief – hopefully with enough detail to be useful but not enough to spoil the fun later.

There are six books in the series.

The stories are set in a fantasy world that is more elemental than magical. There are swords, horses, gunpowder, fighting, and ancient beings with scary supernatural powers. There are no guns, no magic spells, and no shifters, werewolves or vampires.

There are three main story arcs:

1 The adventure

Our Girl, Alexis, and Our Guy, Kierce, grow into their awesome superpowers, gradually assemble a community, and team up to battle said ancient beings with scary supernatural powers who will otherwise destroy the World as We Know It.

2 Our Girl

Alexis, our heroine, was raised in a monastery and has spent her entire life passing as a boy. She knows she’s female, but she’s had no opportunity to explore what that means or decide what kind of person she wants to be or what kind of life she wants to live. She’s been too busy trying to stay alive to worry about it. So she has a huge personal arc as she claims her identity over the course of the series.

3 True Love

This is a romance, so it’s not really a spoiler to say that Alexis and Kierce meet cute in the first scene of the first book and enjoy a HEA together at the very end of the last one. In between…well, let’s just say they’re in for one heck of a journey. Since I already told you that Alexis hasn’t had the opportunity to figure out who she is or what she wants, it must be pretty apparent that she’s not a likely candidate for love at first sight, or even instalust. She and Kierce are made for each other, but they have a long road to travel and much to do before bedtime 😉 .

So here’s what I’m thinking in the way of titles.

The first book is called The Transformation of Alexis Doe. Long, I know, but it really suits the story. Transformation is a mystical supernatural process that’s central to the plot, and it also captures the first important steps of Alexis’s personal journey of self-discovery.

The series is Alexis’s story, so I’d like all the titles to be The Something of Alexis Doe.

She’s a determined, steely kind of a character, so I’m thinking the final book might be The Resolution of Alexis Doe. I’m up for better suggestions though, and any words for the four books in between that suggest exciting, adventurous, fun stories of self-discovery, community, family, fighting, teamwork, epic battles, and love, romantic and physical.

Reconciliation? Attraction? Seduction? Definitely not Domestication 😉 .

Argh.

Any and all suggestions would be most gratefully received.

22 thoughts on “Jilly: Series Title Help

  1. Hey getting the right title can be mind boggling, love the plot and the characters names so, how about the series being based on Alexis. The books can be Alexis, Dawn of Alexis, Dusk of Alexis, and something like that.

    • Hi there! Very glad you like the sound of the story, and thanks for your suggestion. The series is Alexis’s journey, so I definitely want to find titles that reflect that, and I’d rather get some working choices in place now than get halfway through and find I’ve boxed myself into a corner. Using ‘Alexis’ would work well as a thumbnail, and that’s really important. Hmmm. Thank you again 🙂 .

    • That’s exactly what I was hearing too. Thanks, Jeanne – I like all these. I know “-tion’ makes for long words, but they feel good. Maybe it will be okay if JILLY WOOD and ALEXIS DOE are really big 😉 .

  2. Series title could be The Chronicles of Alexis Doe, or Journey of Alexis Doe, or Transformation of Alexis Doe. Then the individual books could be single word titles – the first one would be ‘Transformation’, the last one ‘Resolution’.

    • Aha. I was thinking (but hadn’t said) the series would be the Caldermor Chronicles – that’s the walled city where the important action takes place – but this might be better. I definitely want to use Alexis’s full name. The ‘Doe’ is important – she’s a girl with no name. Must think more on this. Thank you very much, Carol!

    • While I like Caldemor Chronicles for a series title, I also really like the idea of that really big, one-word title: Transformation, Annihilation, Subjugation, Resurrection, Retribution, Celebration. Like that.

      Unlike my own title: Disorganization!

  3. Not helpful to you, but I’m trying to think of series titles for the books that are related to Susannah’s story. Her story is “Three Proposals” (which I may have to change if there are only two proposals in the story — we’ll see what happens when I finish my revised outline). I thought of sticking to a 3-2-1 theme. I’m not sure what to do for Isabela’s story (S’s sister) with the number 2, but for her brother, Ben, I thought of “One Chance for Love”.

    Then there are the other “peeps” — Tradwick, Nate’s spy friend, Nate’s three sisters (I’ve figured out a trilogy title for them — all novellas), and Susannah’s Scottish cousin (probably another series there with the Scot side of the family).

    Lots to consider when you’re putting the series together!

    For yours (keeping with the -tion theme Jeanne suggested), what about Provocation, Confrontation, Determination, Affirmation (perhaps instead of “Resolution”), Temptation, Condemnation (not sure what might happen to her during the course of the books, but this may apply if her community gangs up against her)…same with Assassination or Annihilation (especially if her community tries to kill her and it’s a cliffhanger at the end of one of the books), Trepidation, Exploitation, Abdication (does she ever become queen or something?), Tribulation, or Domination?

    I got this list from a site that lists -ation words. https://www.learnthat.org/word_lists/view/1282 It’s just a list of words, but perhaps it might spark something. I hope these have.

    As an aside, I think having the title of each book end in “of Alexis Doe” might get tedious. Perhaps that’s just me. Using a single -tion word as the title, with the overarching series having “Alexis Doe” might work. But it’s just a suggestion.

    • Lots of great stuff there, Justine, thank you!

      For yours, I like the 3-2-1 structure, but counting down commits you to a trilogy. It could work though, especially if you have a different trilogy title in mind for Nate’s sisters, and maybe a Scottish one for the cousins.

      • I plan on a trilogy for Susannah’s immediate family. Basically the three siblings. The Scottish cousins will be their own series, the sisters a 3-novella series, and I’m not sure about Nate’s friend Tradwick, aside from knowing his story is a novella. I think I need to create more friends of Nate besides Tradwick and his former spy partner/current vicar Andrew.

    • I’m going the other direction, Neen. The first book in my Victorian Romance is “One Kiss from Ruin”, all the way up to “Sixpence on the Duchess” (which is a novella and includes, as the title implies, a bet).

      I like Alexis Doe, Jilly! It’s a name that really sticks in the brain. I think including it in the series title is a fabulous idea.

  4. Oh, this is a nice marketing technique, too. The long first bit can be in small letters on the cover, and the ALEXIS DOE (which is what people will be coming for, along with the JILLY WOOD) in bigger letters. Should be visible from thumbnails. There’s something incomplete about the DOE (like Alexis Does) that may make the reader look again, and I like that, too.

    One problem I have is that Transformation is often the penultimate step. The other words are going to be closely linked to her continual changes on her arc towards her resolution.

    For some reason, though, I’m hearing hip-hop ala Alexander Hamilton.

    There’s a Transformation,
    but she’s not fulfilling her station.
    She has a Revelation,
    maybe Infiltration to the highest levels of her nation.
    The dark moment of the soul leads to Dissolution,
    but she’s rockin’ it and kickin’ it, until her Contribution.
    She starts a Revolution, an Evolution;
    her boy and her bring retribution
    to the ancient beings who were keeping them down,
    keeping them down, keeping them down.
    Power sees a redistribution, and you have a Resolution,
    Alexis Doe is the solution.

    Meh. I’ll never be a hip-hop artist. But there is an arc to be had with -tion words.

    • (-: In any event, I can’t wait to see what Alexis does. I like Penny’s idea of book videos! And LOL with Justine. Perhaps if I keep up with my ukulele, in a few years I’ll be writing the first 5-minute ukulele operettas.

      • You know what Alexis does – her boy and her bring retribution / To the ancient beings who were keeping them down. More details in due course.

        Your 5-minute ukulele operetta debut – I sincerely hope you’ll be launching it right here 😀

        • LOL, you know, the grammar in that PAINS me, but there’s no other way to say it and snarl.

          Have you heard Hamilton? I think it might fit in with some of the things you are writing about. Well, Hamilton doesn’t have to fight ancient beings or anything, but he does tussle with Thomas Jefferson.

  5. Just brainstorming ideas that don’t end in tion, in case you want to mix it up:
    The Rise of Alexis Doe
    The Homecoming of Alexis Doe
    The Revenge of Alexis Doe
    The Disappearance of Alexis Doe
    The Breaking of Alexis Doe (for that dark penultimate book)
    The Journey of Alexis Doe
    The Discovery of Alexis Doe
    The Return of Alexis Doe

    Hope that helps!

    • Thank you very much, Rae, even for the dark penultimate book. Alexis is in for a tough time, but I hope I don’t…quite…break her.

      I’m going to put all the suggestions in a file, take it on holiday with me next month, play around and see what sticks. Appreciate your help!

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