What’s in a name?

As this is the first entry, I thought it appropriate to discuss a subject of much interest to me, and incidentally of much frustration.

Titles.

How to sum up the whole of a game, book, blog, or even short story in something succinct, memorable, and interesting? How to grab the attention of a reader or player who might be casually paging through looking for something to tempt their palate?

Damned hard is what it is. At least for me.

Sentences, paragraphs, concepts, that’s the easy part. When it comes to the flag to wave, I agonize. That’s why it took so long to start my blog; a suitable title was ever out of reach. So, I did what I so often do when I’m trapped with no idea how to move forward… I looked to the gods of my idolatry.

Shadow Truths comes from a quote by my primary source of inspiration, Neil Gaiman.

“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.”

Sometimes, titles come easily to me. My fantasy novel (in progress… slow and ploddingly) had a title before I even began it. Other projects are far more difficult to quantify. A title, in the end, is the distillation of the thing. A perfect label that holds the essence of your brainchild.

But like so many labels, titles are only one facet of the thing they are plastered upon. Unfortunately, as in life, though a label is not the thing, so often a thing is considered its label.

This is why I often leave titles for last. How can I know the essence of a thing before it’s come to fruition? I slap a label on it to keep it in a computer file so I know what I’m working on, but I’ve never been the sort of parent who can name their child before they’re born. This has the unfortunate consequence of having me get through half a story before I realize my hero has the exact wrong name at times, but that’s why god made find and replace on word processors.

And so in the end, as I ramble in my possibly absinthe-fueled state, when I distilled what I wished to say, what I wished my blog to mean and to be… as so often happens one of my heroes said it better than I could hope to at this juncture.

Welcome to my shadow truths. I do hope you find something in my tales and dreams that resonates with you.