# 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:

**Expect**the Unexpected**Spot**the Unexpected**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:

- Unexpected
**Chance**- Dimension
- Divine
- Joy
- Magic
- Fantasy
- Imagination
- Unpredictable
- Extraordinary
- Fortune
- 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):

- 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.* **luck or fortune**:

*a game of chance.*- a
**possibility or probability**of anything happening:

*a fifty-percent chance of success.* - an opportune or favorable time;
**opportunity**:

*Now is your chance.* - Baseball. an opportunity to field the ball and make a put-out or assist.
- a
**risk or hazard**:

*Take a chance.* - a share or ticket in a lottery or
**prize drawing**:

*The charity is selling chances for a dollar each.* - chances, probability:

*The chances are that the train hasn’t left yet.* - 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.

- I opened it up for discussion, critique, feedback, etc.
- I worked through it, thought about it, mulled over it–and it didn’t need to take long.
- 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.

- Open (to the idea)
- Learn (from it, study, “try”)
- See (recognize, accept)
- Seek (now that you “maybe believe” it, look for it)
- Find (can you find it when you want it?)
- Choose (actively choose it)
- Conquer (too strong, but you’re now (somewhat) in control of it)
- Master (you’re good at it)
- 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:

- a chance in a million
- a fighting chance
- a one in a million chance
- a snowball’s chance in hell
**a sporting chance**- an eye for the main chance
- an eye on/for/to the main chance
**as chance/luck would have it**- as much chance as a wax cat in hell
- at the last chance saloon
- be in with a chance
- blow (one’s) chance
- Buckley’s chance
**by any chance**- by chance
- chance
- chance (one’s) arm
- chance it
**chance of a lifetime**- chance on
- chance on (someone or something)
- chance upon
- chance upon (someone or something)
- chance would be a fine thing
- chance your arm
**chances are**- Chinaman’s chance
- dog’s chance
- eye to the main chance, have an
- fancy (one’s) chances
- fancy chances
- fancy your chances
- fancy your/somebody’s chances
- fat chance
- fifty-fifty chance
- fighting chance
- ghost of a chance
- give (one) half a chance
**give (someone) a second chance**- give (someone) another chance
- Give me a chance!
- give somebody half a chance
- given half a/the chance
- half a chance
- have a dog’s chance
- have a fighting chance
- have an even chance
- have an even chance of (doing something)
- have an eye for the main chance
- have an eye on/for/to the main chance
- have an eye to/for the main chance
- have Buckley’s (chance)
- have no chance in hell
- in the last chance saloon
- in with a chance
- jump at
**jump at the chance**(to do something)- last call
- last chance (for/at/to do something)
- leap at the chance (to do something)
- leap at the opportunity
**leave to chance**- let the chance slip by
- never give a sucker an even chance
- no chance
- not a cat in hell’s chance
- not a chance
- Not a chance!
- not a Chinaman’s chance
- not a dog’s chance
- not have a (snowball’s) chance in hell
- not have a cat in hell’s chance
- not have a chance in hell (of doing something)
- not have a ghost of a chance
- not have a snowball’s chance in hell
- not have a snowball’s chance in hell and not a hope in hell
- not have a/the ghost of a chance
- not have an earthly chance
- not have the ghost of a chance
- not stand an earthly (chance)
- of a lifetime
- off chance
- on the (off) chance
- on the chance
- on the chance that
- on the off chance
- on the off-chance
- on the outside chance
- once-in-a-lifetime chance
- one chance in a million
**outside chance**- risk of rain
- slim chance
- snowball’s chance in hell
- snowball’s chance in hell, a
- sporting chance
- sporting chance, a
- stand a chance
**take (one’s) chances**- take a chance
- take a chance on
- take chances
- take one’s chances
- take the chance (to do something)
- take your chances
- the chance, etc. of a lifetime
- the last chance saloon
- Tinker to Evers to Chance
- 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:

- Now is Your Chance
- A Second Chance
- Chance of a Lifetime
- As Chance Would Have It
- Leave it to Chance
- A Ghost of a Chance
- Jump at the Chance
- A Snowball’s Chance in Heaven
- Have Your Chance and Eat It Too

Now I need to let those subtitles come in.

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