The Trouble with Titles

It never used to be this complicated. Back in the day, I just slapped whatever title came to mind onto my story and considered it gold. Now though, after years of literary analysis and academic writing, I’ve grown too intellectual for my own good.

As if being anal-retentive wasn’t bad enough, my perfectionism refuses to accept anything less than the quintessential title for any given work (which is especially challenging given that I’m not finished with my current short story, so finding a title that encapsulates its essence is virtually impossible). And yet I feel I can’t really throw myself into the narrative if I don’t have a title, even if it’s tentative.

I had hoped to resolve this issue over breakfast today, but that didn’t happen. As per my new modus operandi, I put Tabasco sauce on my scrambled eggs. While I do crave spicy, I’m beginning to think that Tabasco just doesn’t taste very good. I’m sure there’s a better way to spice up my food that’s also full of flavor. Who knows? Who cares? Oh, on that note…

Last night, I bought a package of Jack Link’s jalapeño beef jerky. My taste buds loved it, but today, my large intestine decided that I can’t eat it anymore. Well, I can, but not unless I want to shoot fire out my backside (which I don’t). Lesson learned. On a more positive note, I passed up the opportunity to gorge myself on doughnuts and the usual assortment of Saturday morning pastries. How ’bout that? My workout yesterday felt so good that I don’t want to undo the tiny bit of progress I made. We’ll see how long that lasts.

OK, so the story titles I’ve been tossing around are as follows. The trouble is I can’t decide if I want to write one long story and break it into separate parts, or simply write three short stories and create a new trilogy in the process. But I digress. Here you go:

Sunday Knights VII: Wrath of the Enchantress, Enchantress with a Vengeance, The Phantom Enchantress, The Phantom Ultimatum, Phantom of the Enchantress, Attack of the Enchantress, Scarlet Poison, The Scarlet Menace, and Evil Rising.

Originally, the seventh story in the series was simply titled Evil Rising, but it was different in tone and served as more of a literary experiment for myself than a genuine entry. I’ve decided to discard it as canon and write a new seventh story. That story was originally titled Old Magic & Rusty Knights, which I think is absolutely perfect… for wrapping up the series. But my current plot won’t fit in one story, so I feel compelled to expand it. Thus, I wrestle with making an eight and a ninth part that each need a title. I’ve got quite a few titles for those as well, in no particular order:

Sunday Knights VIII and/or IX: Apprentice with a Vengeance, The Hourglass of Fate, The Shores of Avalon, The Golden Apple, A Link Back to the Future Past, A Walk through Time, The Magician’s Apprentice, The Karate Dude Kicks Back, Enter the Gold Knight, The Sword of Eternal Fire, and A Sword in Time—that last one has already been taken, so I would probably alter it a little bit.

Another problem I face is tailoring my stories to work with one of these titles. It shouldn’t be that way, but the nature of this series is such that it could easily happen. Argh. What to do? I suppose I’ll just have to write until I figure it out.

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