Saturday, April 18, 2009

Help Us Choose Our Elf~Fin Titles: VOTE NOW! [Updated 19/4/09]

A few months ago we asked readers to vote for their favourite Elf~Fin™ #1 cover which Jozef is currently in the process of painting. Now, as we nudge closer to publication, we're curious to have your opinion on another aspect of the work. 

When we began developing the Elf~Fin™ story a number of years ago, we actually first blocked out what is now to be the second story in the trilogy – that is, the tale of Illora – Hyfus and Tilaweed's daughter (this is not a spoiler, fans have known about her existence for years but in another context). That "fish out of water" story is pretty much mapped out and has some real hi-jinx in it.

However, as we got talking, as well as listening to our readers, we changed our minds. Tilaweed and Hyfus who have appeared in print before as supporting characters have always been fan favourites as well as our personal favourites (Jozef has always gravitated towards Tilaweed and I towards Hyfus) so we decided to bring them to the forefront as lead characters. Secondly, we wanted to do a mermaid story that – unlike many other mermaid stories (The Little Mermaid included) – took place ENTIRELY underwater. The result was that we decided to switch things around and place Hyfus and Tilaweed into the limelight, which is why the first story is essentially what we would describe as "an underwater love story".

So here's the rub ... our working title for Book 1 has up to now been Hyfus & Tilaweed. Romance stories (no matter what slant they take – tragic, epic, black comedy etc ), often favour titles named after the major characters who find love (eg. Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Harold and Maude, Benny and Joon, Oscar and Lucinda). However, this comic work also sits in the fantasy genre – our characters are elves living on a planet called Elf~Threaal. So in the interim we came up with another set of titles for the trilogy that may be befitting the work if you look at it from the perspective of the fantasy genre itself. We're curious from the point of view of creators, but we're also curious from the point of view of market researchers.

So we want to ask you ... which cluster of titles resonates with you more and (pretending that you didn't know us or our history or the history of this work), which would be more likely to solidify your buying decision? (Please note that even though we know what happens in Book 3, we don't want to flag the story via either title at this moment).

Character name-based titles:
Book 1: Hyfus and Tilaweed
Book 2: Illora
Book 3: TBA

Story/plot point-based titles:
Book 1: The Shuddering
Book 2: The Wells of Shekimminon
Book 3:  TBA

Keep in mind that at this point of time they are ALL working titles. We'll be making our final decision with the publisher but really want to bring your preferences into the discussion.

HELP US by voting (once only please) in the poll on this blog. The closing date will be Sunday 17 May 2009 at 11:59pm. 

UPDATE (19/4/09):  Your early feedback reveals that the issue of titles is not as clear cut as we thought. Some readers prefer a mix of titles for different reasons. We're REALLY interested in your opinions and instincts, so it'll be really useful if you would provide us with additional information in the commentary section of this blog post. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I like the idea of a plot related title rather than a person related title. Still, I'm going to have to vote for "Hyfus and Tilaweed" for the first book. I'm afraid the title "The Shuddering" reminds me too much of "The Shining". While I only have the tidbits you've leaked to support me, I suspect this isn't that kind of story... However, I liked the title "The Wells of Shekimminon" for book 2, so I'd definitely go with that.

Black Mermaid Productions said...

Thanks for your feedback. This is really interesting and actually prompted us to put additional notes on the original blog post. We're also going to ask you to vote again if you don't mind, as we tweaked the poll and the original two votes (one in favour of the name-based titles; the other in favour of the story based titles) were lost. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Another day, another vote!;) Despite my previous comment, I am more in favour of a title which reflects the story as a whole rather than just one aspect of it. In other words, the title based on the plot gets my vote.

Carol Omer said...

I am in favour of plot based titles as if you are not familiar with the characters (which I'm not), their names and personas etc carry no meaning whereas the theme of the story in the may attract my interest.

Thanks for asking...


Black Mermaid Productions said...

Thanks, Carol.
Your feedback will go into the mix of opinions and help us make decisions. You've also identified something else that is important–there are previous readers who know these characters (therefore the character names have meaning and an identity), and there are new or prospective readers who will be meeting these characters for the first time (therefore their names have no meaning or context for them). It will be very interesting to see where the votes will go.