Writing Historical Fiction discussion

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Which title?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Hello, I hope I'm putting this in the right section. I am about halfway through my new novel and I would like your thoughts on the title.

The book is set in a Sussex village about 6 years after the end of the English Civil War (by which I mean the death of Charles 1) so about 1655. A young man with no memory of who he is and where he has been is found lost in the mist of the south downs. The book is about his gradual recovery;finding out who he is and why he lost his memory. It is significant that he knows he fought in the war but cannot remember which side, but it is almost incidental, at least for the first half of the book - the reason for the memory loss has a deeper and darker explanation which pre-dates his role in the war but did have an indirect effect upon it.

So, I have about four possible titles, which are, in no particular order: "A Stranger to Himself", "After the War", "The Turncoat" and "The Healer's Son". Quite simply, which do you like best?

Thanks

Julia


Valerie Lewis | 23 comments I like "A Stranger to Himself"


Richard Sutton (RichardSutton) | 10 comments Turncoat -- like the accusation.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I like 'A Stranger to Himself', as well.


Martin Turnbull (Martin_Turnbull) | 12 comments I"d go for "The Turncoat" - it implies a story of betrayal and high emotion. Plus it's a word we don't use much anymore so it also implies history. If you're concerned that potential readers might not know what a turncoat is, then I'd got with "A Stranger to Himself" which I think is also a very good title. And let us know when it's out - sounds intriguing!


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for your answers so far. I like "The Turncoat" best too but as you say Martin, it does imply a story of betrayal and high emotion when the Turncoat bit is just one more discovery about the character and points more to his shattered state of mind than to his moral character. I might even have to wait until it's been read to decide. :)


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I think Margaret Mitchell's original title for Gone With the Wind was 'Tomorrow is Another Day'...


Carla René (CarlaRené) | 33 comments Mod
I like "A Stranger to Himself". It draws more of a picture than the simpler "The Turncoat," to which my first reaction is, "big deal?"


Ed (Oct1647) | 3 comments How about "Stranger in the Mirror". Ed


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

The characters aren't rich enough to have mirrors. :@)


message 11: by Ed (new)

Ed (Oct1647) | 3 comments Good point. Perhaps they looked in water to see their reflection to wash, shave, etc. Then again , I guess the men did not shave much either! Just trying to help, as it were...Ed


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Suspect they must have done - or it explains the lower life expectancy!


Helena Schrader | 43 comments Julia Lee wrote: "Hello, I hope I'm putting this in the right section. I am about halfway through my new novel and I would like your thoughts on the title.

The book is set in a Sussex village about 6 years after..."


"A Stranger to Himself" seems to capture the book (as you describe) it best. "After the War" is too bland, while the other two titles give something away, which I think would be undesirable, assuming your intention is to create interest by keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat trying to find out what this is all about.


message 14: by Ed (new)

Ed (Oct1647) | 3 comments Julia Lee...I was thinking that the husband asks the wife how he looks, war face in place, etc and wife replies "great, have fun killing Round Heads today Dear and BTW, bring home a quart of milk". LOL Ed


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I think "A Stranger to Himself" is the strongest contender. Thanks all. Story 's nearly finished but a good long stint of further research still to do! I'll be back ...x


Patricia O'Sullivan | 5 comments I like The Turncoat better because #1) it tells me immediately this is a historical novel because of the old-fashioned word, and #2) it is pithier, and #3) it lends itself to interesting cover art. Not that A Stranger to Himself is bad, but it could be set anywhere and sounds academic. I think it is as bland as After the War, which at least tells us something about the story.


Gordon Bailey (Gordonmrln) | 11 comments Julia Lee wrote: "Hello, I hope I'm putting this in the right section. I am about halfway through my new novel and I would like your thoughts on the title.

The book is set in a Sussex village about 6 years after..."


Hi Julie I am a new member and I do think that "A Stranger to Himself" is a very good title, and would be quite a good salable title.If you are worried about it not having the link to the history side of the story.As with most books the title doesn't reflect the whole story, this is where you use your "Synopsis" to grab your reader and draw them in.I have found that after reading the synopsis of a book I have been more drawn in than the mere title subject.I hope this might help in your dilemma.Try this title as well "Mystification of a Stranger"


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks Gordon & Patricia, I have vacillated between "Turncoat" and "Stranger" and am coming back to Stranger just because the Turncoat element is very faint - it would perhaps work better for a sequel if I were planning such a thing. I think it's going to rest in the hands of my readers - eventually. Basic story is more or less done but I have a fair bit of research to do yet. JX


Elaine M. (brookibrik) | 7 comments 'Stranger to Himself' would intrigue me. 'Turncoat' might get
lost amongst others (there are
25 on goodreads alone).


Elaine M. (brookibrik) | 7 comments .....and there are no rival 'Stranger to himself' titles on Goodreads.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks Elaine, I'm sticking with "Stranger" it's much more descriptive of the book.

Jx


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