UPDATE 17 – The Difficulties of the Title Journey and Why it is Crucial

My search for a new title for my first book has been much more difficult than I thought. You can hear me mope all about it in the link below.

UPDATE 17 – The Difficulties of the Title Journey and Why it is Crucial

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UPDATE 16 – Leviathan Rising and My Search for Alternate Titles

My odyssey ebbs ever onwards.

A few days ago I had a talk with a very dear friend of mine about my query letters. The tips and links he offered were very helpful. As it turns out, the content I was sending out was not as good as it could have been. He gave me a few links to some successful query letters that were reviewed by their respective agents to reveal why they were so successful. Starting tomorrow, I will continue the query process. My output will likely not be nearly as much, but the quality of that output should be much better than before.

To top it off, I have found a new resource to help me find an agent, another website called Query Tracker. I have already started my account and look forward to checking out the community.

Before we continue, let me run a few titles by you.

Leviathan Rising

A Stillness in the Water

A Silence in the Deep

The Jaws of Death

Jaws of Leviathan

Off the Beach

The White

What do all of these titles have in common?

They are but a few of the titles that Peter Benchley threw around while seeking a title for his novel, Jaws. Why does this concern me? Well, to be frank, my title for this book might not be very good.

The leading character’s name is a simple enough solution as any. Zhyx. Just one problem. What the hell is a Zhyx?

I of course wrote the book. Zhyx is simply the translation for Red in dragon tongue. But how will a new reader know that? More importantly, how will an agent know that?

Simply put, my title might not be that marketable. At least not until the character is well known.

Now for later installments, including the leading character’s name is fine. Just look at the sequels to Raiders of the Lost Ark, all of which included leading man, Indiana Jones’ name in the title. Now, we all known how kickass a name Indiana Jones is, but it was only after Raiders that name became so marketable. Had Raiders not been a big hit, it wouldn’t matter how cool a name the leading man had. It wouldn’t have sold.

So now we know that Zhyx might not be the best title for the book, not until that character is established.

So what to do in the meantime?

Well, I guess it is time to explore other options. I cannot think of another name for my fire breathing star. His name was uncovered quite by accident while throwing random sounds at myself during my work shift, and something about that one stood out. It was sharp, menacing, had a feel of mystery about it. It was a good name. Good and simple.

Some of the best titles are single word titles. Alien, Predator, Halloween, Psycho. Each title tells you everything you need to know. But on the flip side you have multiple word titles that are more statements, but still introduce you to the story very well. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Raiders of the Lost Ark, To Kill a Mockingbird and so much more. Then you have the healthy medium. Two word titles that balance the blunt nature of a story with a statement to make something that tells you everything in but a few words. Star Wars, Star Trek, Die Hard, Dirty Harry.

A few titles have come to mind so far.

There is still the subtitle An Unusual Adventure, Zhyx’s title of The Great Red Wyrm certainly comes to mind. In thinking about new titles, it seems that a multiple word title would work best. After all, the story is about a dragon turned action hero, and it would be difficult to showcase that with just one word. Dragon, Firebreather, Wyrm, those are either already taken or just not that good. So it seems to me a multiple word title will be best, and that is what I am currently working on.

Although the original title for Alien was Star Beast, and we all know which title is better there.

I will be giving my cousin a call tomorrow and we will brainstorm some ideas. Wish us luck. Hopefully we can come up with something better than Star Beast.

Chapter 3 Illustration Updates and New Article

Hello everyone. Well, this week has been an exciting week for your resident aspiring fantasy author. Five new query letters are in the wind and I have seven more pages of potential agents to sift through before having to leave this list and move on to the next one.

The illustration for chapter three, detailing the fire breathing protagonist’s meeting with the young River, is moving along nicely. My illustrator and I just concluded a successful meeting, during which time the outline was finalized, scaled to the proper size, and the first details were added.

I have added a page to the concept art section detailing the step by step creation of this picture. It will be updated as more becomes available, eventually containing the final illustration once it is done. You can check the illustration out with this link.

Thanks for reading, and looking forward to hearing from you all soon.

Saar’Jya

The design for the dragon deity Saar’Jya is to bet tweaked soon, namely with more detailed work on the hands. Since we have started work on that, seems a good time to take a trip down memory lane and go over the first character art created for the novel.

You can read the article detailing Saar’jya’s creation here.

Updates on Art and Query Letters

Hello everyone. Been a while since your favorite wannabe author has checked in, and it is time for some updates on the epic fantasy saga of Zhyx, the Great Red Wyrm.

My latest script is moving along. I am now up to page 50 and aim to finish act 2 by tomorrow. In the meantime, I have continued the outlining work on book 2 of the Zhyx series. The basic structure pretty well set, I look forward to getting back with my friends on Tygan.

The query process ebbs ever onwards. I have thus far sent out nineteen letters, and gotten eleven rejections. Honestly, it still hasn’t gotten to the point where it is painful. As I work on going through the list of 160 agents again, other avenues are being explored. Two friends of mine, an actress and a director respectively, have put me in touch with a few of their friends. These friends may not be able to help me directly, but they may know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. Something worth exploring in any case. The worst either can do is say ‘no.’ If all else fails, I have also been furnished with several reputable self publishing companies. Hey, it worked for Eregon, and I can afford to drop a little to put some copies on shelves.

Pictured below is the latest version of the chapter 3 illustration. Zhyx’s outline has gone through an overhaul, and it is now essentially done. Though Zhyx is a little smaller than he is in the story, but he will be scaled up to the size of the previous picture before we add the detail and color. That meeting will take place next weekend.

Chapter 3 Illustration New

Later today, I will be adding some of my longer articles to the Treasure Hoard, along with a new article to be posted later today. Thanks for reading and get back to all of you soon.

More Rejection Letters, New Artwork, Possible Breakthrough

Hello ladies and gents. Your aspiring fantasy/adventure author has returned from his short hiatus to give you all an update. Well, this month has been interesting. It has been the second most successful month since this blog was started in August of 2014, and given that it has been a few weeks since I posted anything, I have no one but you to thank for that. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You guys rock.

I have finally settled on my next writing project before I move on to book 2 of the saga of the Great Red Wyrm. This next project is a script dealing with the aftermath of an atomic holocaust and its effect on a small band of survivors. Not that I wish to write such bleak things a lot. I prefer more optimistic pieces myself. A very nasty depression has done a number on me this year, and I feel writing such a script would be a good way to flush the tears from my system. If I am going to purge out the negativity, I may as well get creative with it.

The outline for book 2 of Zhyx is already essentially done. I know the set-up, I know the story, and I know the ending. It will be different from the first book, develop more of the characters, introduce new ones, and present a new and unique challenge for the fire breathing hero. Writing on it will start in December.

Rejection letters, rejection letters, rejection letters. I have received eight so far, including the one that was the subject of the last article. Honestly, they have not been as difficult as I had anticipated. Nothing really hurtful. Just the usual “Sorry but this is not what we are looking for. Good luck.” thing. Of course that probably means they took one look at the query letter and decided not to read the attached pages, which is honestly what I expected. I have sent out some 17 queries so far, and now about half of them have been answered. It is no small stretch to assume a lot more will be sent before that long awaited ‘yes’ finally comes. My guess is at least 100.

But a break just may have come. A few nights ago I hosted a party at my house and to pass the time, read a little of the story to my guests. The response was quite enthusiastic. One of my friends works an an actress and offered to show this site to her friend, a casting director. Being a casting director, he does have connections. Who knows? That just might be the big break I have been waiting for. At the very least, it is one less door to knock down.

Update on the illustration for chapter 3. There have been some difficulties due to school schedules and stuff like that. My artist friend and I will continue work on it this Friday and hopefully have it finished in a few weeks. That being said, this picture here is close. The proportions are right. It is just the face needs a little work.

Zhyx meets River 4

This is an illustration I have been eagerly waiting for. Not only is this the first illustration where you see Zhyx’s true size, but this is easily the single most significant event in the entire book, perhaps the entire series. This event shapes everything that is to come and gives the story its soul. Just wait until it is finished. It is going to be something special.

I will keep you all posted on how this saga further develops. Thanks for reading and catch you all later.