Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Naming of Names May 27, 2007

Ikarias Book 4 official name: 'Labyrinth's Edge', up to 3 chapters 5K+ word count.

How do names for books get chosen? What makes a good name?

My books are a series: 'Ikarias, Tales from the Worlds of the Half-Dragon'. That describes a name, that there's several things going on, that it encompasses more than one geographical area, and what my main character is.

For series name, it's longish, but the most important character is first so asking for the 'latest Ikarias novel' (wishing really hard that happens soon! lol) is easy. The name may be difficult to pronounce. Some people will think of Icarus, the flyboy, Daedelus' rash son, but that's one story, roughly 2000 years old so the competition isn't new.

What about secondary titles? Since the first is long, keeping the rest to two words is important. The shorter the name the easier it is for people to remember, also, puns, slang, assonance (vowel repetition), and alliteration (consonant repetition) help people to recall. Think 'Centaur Isle'-pun, 'How Stella Got her Groove Back' -slang, 'Angela's Ashes'-assonance, 'Pride and Prejudice'-alliteration.

In Ikarias Book 1: 'Sorceress' Game' describes what is going on: A 15 going on 5000 year old sorceress plays with the lives of Ikarias and her friends.

Ikarias Book 2: 'Soul Teind' focuses on what the debt of a soul is for, who has it, why the young woman Cephira who pays it is threatened, where it is paid, to whom, and how she copes with the bargain made in exchange for her life and that of her sisters. Ikarias and friends come to the rescue.

Ikarias Book 3: 'Balanced Scales' is Ikarias' search to bring her two halves into synch. She tries to find justice for who/what she is when drastic changes take over. Balanced also refers to her frame of mind, and of course scales are what dragons and Half-Dragons have. Scales are also associated with justice.

Coming up to 'Labyrinth's Edge', Ikarias Book 4. The edge does not mean the end, or the beginning, it's a place where one must leave in order to escape.

This brings us back to Daedalus who was the architect of the greatest and most deadly labyrinth. The name comes from the duo-headed axe with curves edges, labrys, Ikarias' favorite weapon. Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, the king of Crete was cursed to fall in love with a bull. This bull had been a gift from the sea god, Poseidon, to Minos. Minos was to sacrifice the bull to Poseidon, but he didn't. The bull was huge, it was without blemish. Minos didn't want to slay and burn the magnificent animal. You do not disobey a god. In revenge upon Minos, of course the god hit on his wife--gods prefer the anguish of suffering by a family member of the prime offender rather than smack the one who did the wrong. Gods are like that.

Pasiphae fell madly in love with the bull. This was before anyone knew of DNA so the laws of genetic matching didn't exist. He impregnated her, no one knows whether the bull brought her flowers and dinner first, if he did bring a bouquet he probably ate it.

Minos himself was the son of the god Zeus who in bull-shape seduced and boffed Europa. Hera found out and turned Europa into a cow pestered by flies. (Again the god doesn't punish the instigator. Zeus was notorious for skirt-chasing. Poor Hera had to be satisfied with making the damsels' lives a living hell. She wasn't too kind to her step-children either, as if children are cursed for the sins of their parents.) Europa swam across the sea landing far from Hera's wrath and the name of the place stuck. She gave birth there though I'm not sure in which form.

When Pasiphae gave birth, her son was bull from the head or waist up. Unable or unwilling to kill this monster, and certainly in no mood to coddle it, King Minos had the world's leading architect design a place where the bull-boy grew up to be a bull-man, the Minotaur, away from any contact. Meat or criminals were thrown in the labyrinth to feed him, until the war with Athens.

Androgeus was Minos' son, all human, a sterling fellow who visited Athens and King Aegeus. Androgeus and other young men went hunting for a dangerous bull. (Any one see a theme developing here? ) The bull killed him. Mad with grief, Minos invaded Athens and agreed to spare the city only if seven maidens and seven youths came to him every nine years. They were put into the labyrinth where the minotaur found them and ate them.

Theseus, visiting Athens, offered to take the place of one youth and kill the bull beast that was eating the best of the Athenian population. Aegeus made him promise when he sailed back, if the sails were white--victory that the minotaur was dead, or black for failure, as they were on the sorrowful voyage out.

Ariadne was the daughter of Minos and Pasiphae. Seeing Theseus, she fell in love and gave him a string to maneuver through the labyrinth to safety. He came upon the sleeping minotaur and beat him to death with his fists.

Scratching head--if this bull beast was so fearsome how could a mere man kill it with his bare hands? That's where stretching the fictional tale gets thin enough to read through.

Taking Ariadne and the thirteen other teens, Theseus sailed for home. Ariadne was abandoned on the isle of Naxos where the god Dionysus ruled. He's not only the god of wine but the god of beasts. Perhaps Ariadne felt guilty at having been the instrument of her half-brother's death. Exuberant with escape and freedom, Theseus forgot to change the black sails to white. Seeing the dark sails, in grief, Aegeus threw himself from the cliffs into the sea now bearing his name, the Aegean.

Like fate, labyrinths have many edges. The edges are often the most dangerous place to be.

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