Why I changed my title.

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Hello everyone! It's been a while since I last posted, so I thought I'd pop in and let you all know what's been going on. The last couple of months have been a strange mix of waiting impatiently on other people, then furiously working for hours and hours to finish editing my latest book. Looking back, I can't decide if I should classify the months as productive or a general waste of time. Let's go with productive, since the book is finally being queried.

So, yay! After more than a year since the first word was typed, THE SOMETIMES SWORD is finally on submissions to agents. Kind of. See, it's now called THE WITCKE IN THE RUINS. Let me explain: when the book first started, the main idea was that of a young boy with a magical sword saving the day. Yeah, that's the archetype I chose to go with. The sword in question liked to disappear at the worst possible times due to an unfortunate mix of spellbinds that had been placed upon it not playing well together. However, the book has been rewritten 3 times now, altering not only the main character (adding in a female protagonist as the main POV), but also changing the nature and importance of the sword.

The sword is now a very small aspect of the book, serving only as yet another plot device to frustrate the characters by disappearing at inopportune times, hardly pivotal to the plot. Because the title was THE SOMETIMES SWORD, the current version of the book was a little confusing, as I didn't really explain much about the sword, or why it disappeared (it's now simply an experimental sword that wasn't ready for real world use yet). My beta readers kept repeating that they couldn't understand why the sword was even in the story to begin with (this was very frustrating for me, as I didn't want the sword to be important anymore, and hated the thought of making it once more a large part of the story).

After a bit of thinking, I decided that rather than expanding the sword's importance, I would simply change the title of the book, thereby changing the reader's expectations, and voila! The sword now fit in its current role, no changes needed.

But that brought a new challenge. What should I title the book after a year of calling it something else? I won't go through the whole process (I had five or six options and talked to a lot of people about them), but I eventually landed on THE WITCHER IN THE RUINS, seeing as my magic users are called witchers, and one of them happens to be in some ruins at one point. It worked, and I liked the tone the new title gave.

BUT. *record scratch*

The term "witcher" is apparently associated quite strongly with a series of books/videogames by the same name. I'd never heard of it before, but it just goes to show that the best laid plans of mice and men, and all that. After talking with a few people in the industry, I decided I'd need to change the name of my magic users and my title. Now, I already have made-up names for other familiar creatures specific to the world (such as canavar, bloedrech, etc), so it wasn't a stretch to simply alter the idea of a witch-like person into a new word. I came up with "witcke" (pronounced wit-key) with the plural of "witckas" (similar to Wicca, which works on a lot of levels). It was close enough to evoke some of the same associations as "witch", but different enough to catch the eye a little bit. Hence the new title of THE WITCKE IN THE RUINS was born.

I'll post again about the querying process here soon.


  1. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Isn't it amazing how your story evolves? I went through the same process with my current novel that I'm editing now.

    I like the name of your book, although, I was unsure how to say it until you parenthesized it out.

    Good luck with your query! Also is you need any help, I could beta for you if you'd like.

    1. Anonymous4:15 PM

      that should say *If you need any help

    2. Thanks for the offer :) It's being queried already, so I'm done with revisions and editing for now. If you are interested, I have other work that some new eyes would be great on.