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Charlie Holiday book title workshop

Charlie Holiday book title workshop

Charlie Holiday is maturing into his own. He needs a new title.

Book titles, that is.

As of this moment, there are three books in the series currently titled: Florence, Utrecht, and Chiang Mai. I knew the titles were placeholders, but I didn’t know how to replace them. Part of this is the Just Get it Published and Figure It Out Later strategy that I enjoy. Well, now it’s later.

There are 3 books in the series, but I see it going to at least 7 if not into the double digits. I really like the short format (novelette, short story, etc.) and the accompanying 1-hour-or-so audiobook.

The Foundation, Source, Anchor Word

I worked on this the other day with a fellow writer and we came up with:

  1. Expect the Unexpected
  2. Spot the Unexpected
  3. Choose the Unexpected

It’s a good direction and could work. It’s just “unexpected” seems so clunky to me.

Let’s see if we can improve on it. Here’s a stab at that main word:

  1. Unexpected
  2. Chance
  3. Dimension
  4. Divine
  5. Joy
  6. Magic
  7. Fantasy
  8. Imagination
  9. Unpredictable
  10. Extraordinary
  11. Fortune
  12. Fate

That exercise, which took me all of 10 minutes with a thesaurus, brought Chance up to #2. As much as I like like the wonder and magic of the word “unexpected,” it’s clunky, three syllables, and has a negative prefix (un-) in there.

Here are a few definitions for “chance” (noun):

  1. the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled: often personified or treated as a positive agency:
    Chance governs all.
  2. luck or fortune:
    a game of chance.
  3. a possibility or probability of anything happening:
    a fifty-percent chance of success.
  4. an opportune or favorable time; opportunity:
    Now is your chance.
  5. Baseball. an opportunity to field the ball and make a put-out or assist.
  6. a risk or hazard:
    Take a chance.
  7. a share or ticket in a lottery or prize drawing:
    The charity is selling chances for a dollar each.
  8. chances, probability:
    The chances are that the train hasn’t left yet.
  9. Archaic. an unfortunate event; mishap.

OK, well, that’s settled.

I realize you’re reading along here with no paused, but I just found the title of my next several books!

Thanks for playing along.

See how that worked.

  1. I opened it up for discussion, critique, feedback, etc.
  2. I worked through it, thought about it, mulled over it–and it didn’t need to take long.
  3. It came to me as I was focused on something else (namely, unexpected).

I think we’re done here. Maybe I’m not, but it’s an excellent start and it just feels right. I could be certain, or I could leave it up to … chance.

The Series

Now that I have the core, the foundation, the anchor term, I need to link the books together in a series that flows, grows, and shows. (Ooh, just made that up and I’m liking it.)

I want it to increase, to ascend, to climb, to grow. Charlie is at first lost, incredulous, not even really looking. He’s clueless. But he has a spark, a something that tells him there’s more. He doesn’t know what or how or when or what, he just knows, he hopes there’s something. Let’s play around with that.

  1. Open (to the idea)
  2. Learn (from it, study, “try”)
  3. See (recognize, accept)
  4. Seek (now that you “maybe believe” it, look for it)
  5. Find (can you find it when you want it?)
  6. Choose (actively choose it)
  7. Conquer (too strong, but you’re now (somewhat) in control of it)
  8. Master (you’re good at it)
  9. Play (now things get fun)

Play on Words

I’m now over at a site that finds idioms for words. Whoa, this is way too much fun for a Sunday morning. ;-O Here comes a collection:

  1. a chance in a million
  2. a fighting chance
  3. a one in a million chance
  4. a snowball’s chance in hell
  5. a sporting chance
  6. an eye for the main chance
  7. an eye on/for/to the main chance
  8. as chance/luck would have it
  9. as much chance as a wax cat in hell
  10. at the last chance saloon
  11. be in with a chance
  12. blow (one’s) chance
  13. Buckley’s chance
  14. by any chance
  15. by chance
  16. chance
  17. chance (one’s) arm
  18. chance it
  19. chance of a lifetime
  20. chance on
  21. chance on (someone or something)
  22. chance upon
  23. chance upon (someone or something)
  24. chance would be a fine thing
  25. chance your arm
  26. chances are
  27. Chinaman’s chance
  28. dog’s chance
  29. eye to the main chance, have an
  30. fancy (one’s) chances
  31. fancy chances
  32. fancy your chances
  33. fancy your/somebody’s chances
  34. fat chance
  35. fifty-fifty chance
  36. fighting chance
  37. ghost of a chance
  38. give (one) half a chance
  39. give (someone) a second chance
  40. give (someone) another chance
  41. Give me a chance!
  42. give somebody half a chance
  43. given half a/the chance
  44. half a chance
  45. have a dog’s chance
  46. have a fighting chance
  47. have an even chance
  48. have an even chance of (doing something)
  49. have an eye for the main chance
  50. have an eye on/for/to the main chance
  51. have an eye to/for the main chance
  52. have Buckley’s (chance)
  53. have no chance in hell
  54. in the last chance saloon
  55. in with a chance
  56. jump at
  57. jump at the chance (to do something)
  58. last call
  59. last chance (for/at/to do something)
  60. leap at the chance (to do something)
  61. leap at the opportunity
  62. leave to chance
  63. let the chance slip by
  64. never give a sucker an even chance
  65. no chance
  66. not a cat in hell’s chance
  67. not a chance
  68. Not a chance!
  69. not a Chinaman’s chance
  70. not a dog’s chance
  71. not have a (snowball’s) chance in hell
  72. not have a cat in hell’s chance
  73. not have a chance in hell (of doing something)
  74. not have a ghost of a chance
  75. not have a snowball’s chance in hell
  76. not have a snowball’s chance in hell and not a hope in hell
  77. not have a/the ghost of a chance
  78. not have an earthly chance
  79. not have the ghost of a chance
  80. not stand an earthly (chance)
  81. of a lifetime
  82. off chance
  83. on the (off) chance
  84. on the chance
  85. on the chance that
  86. on the off chance
  87. on the off-chance
  88. on the outside chance
  89. once-in-a-lifetime chance
  90. one chance in a million
  91. outside chance
  92. risk of rain
  93. slim chance
  94. snowball’s chance in hell
  95. snowball’s chance in hell, a
  96. sporting chance
  97. sporting chance, a
  98. stand a chance
  99. take (one’s) chances
  100. take a chance
  101. take a chance on
  102. take chances
  103. take one’s chances
  104. take the chance (to do something)
  105. take your chances
  106. the chance, etc. of a lifetime
  107. the last chance saloon
  108. Tinker to Evers to Chance
  109. You pays your money and you takes your chance

OK, fine, so I copied them all. There are some winners in here. Let’s scoop up a few.

There are many that lean negative, that take the side of the chance is small. That’s OK. The chance is small. The chance of rain tomorrow is truly 50/50: it’s either going to rain or it’s not. Sure, you can tell me it 20% or 80% but it’s still truly 50/50: it will or it won’t.

Ooh, this is getting fun and just way too much fun for the math guy that I am. I see dozens of book titles with chance in there. Let’s see if I can make a quick roll call of 7, ideally increasing in (statistical!) probability:

  1. Now is Your Chance
  2. A Second Chance
  3. Chance of a Lifetime
  4. As Chance Would Have It
  5. Leave it to Chance
  6. A Ghost of a Chance
  7. Jump at the Chance
  8. A Snowball’s Chance in Heaven
  9. Have Your Chance and Eat It Too

Now I need to let those subtitles come in.

Charlie Holiday book title workshop

Charlie Holiday book title workshop [Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Unsplash]


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