A few attempted drafts ago, back when almost every prominent story element was different from what it is now, I had a working title for this project that fit it pretty well but now does not fit it at all. I've still been using it as a placeholder, but as I've been progressing with this project in its current form, I've always kept the goal of working out a better title in the back of my mind. I understand that most of the time, it is advisable to not try to pin down a title until the project is finished or nearly so, precisely for the reason that what seems like a good title for a project early on might not fit as well in its finished form, just like what I've experienced. However, though my progress on a new draft currently is minimal, I have extensive notes, outlines and worldbuilding material, and I have many core pieces of the setting, plot, and theme – as well as real world inspirations and allegories for the aforementioned – absolutely solidified, to the point where what I want to accomplish with the title is very clear to me and is not likely to change.

So what do I want to accomplish with the title, you might ask? The foremost purpose of a title imo is to give your reader a solid sense of what they are in for and what they can expect. A title should be evocative of your genre, and should be capable of immediately suggesting themes and imagery to your reader. Two imo great examples in fantasy I've brought up before to demonstrate this, and that I hope to emulate, are A Game of Thrones and The Way of Kings. I think these two titles are very adept at immediately suggesting to the reader a monarchical setting and imparting a sense of courtly intrigue and duplicity for the former, and a sense of epic history and a The Prince-esque rumination on what it is to rule for the latter. So I've had the aim in mind of accomplishing something very similar with my title for awhile. Until one day a couple weeks ago, I was doing some thinking on what my project's inspirations are and what what kinds of titles I've tried in the past, and I worked out something that immediately made me think it has the potential to bring this search to a close.

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With that in mind, I would like feedback just on what the title I am about to tell you brings to mind in terms of genre, theme, imagery, and maybe inspiration, without knowing anything else about the project. I'll be glad to answer questions about it and provide clarification about it in the comments if you want to know more, but the purpose of this for me is just to sorta get a sense of what kind of "first impression", if you will, this title might make on a prospective reader running across it on the bookshelf or in a list of ebooks. It is The Philosopher Kings' Legacy, or possibly alternately Legacy of the Philosopher Kings, though I am more partial to the first arrangement. I'm also unsure as to whether to hyphenate "Philosopher-Kings" or not, for clarity that it is one term.

General freeform feedback is welcome, but if you would so kindly take the time to answer the following short questionnaire, it would be much appreciated. Note: Please read and answer the questionnaire in order without looking ahead of the current question and please answer honestly and with your immediate thoughts, taking as little time to consider things as possible:

  1. Is this title identifiable as/evocative of fantasy, and does any particular subgenre of fantasy jump out at you from this title, and why/why not?

  2. What sort of themes and imagery come to mind from reading this title?

  3. Is the title grammatically clear (mostly in the case of the first arrangement) i.e. is it clear that the apostrophe is where it is intentionally and that the legacy is from not one philosopher-king but from multiple philosopher-kings, or does it look like it might be a typo and/or look awkward, and is it clear that Philosopher King is one term or should there be a hyphen for clarity?

  4. Does this strike you as a title better suited for a book series or for the first book in the series? (I'm projecting this project to most likely be a trilogy, possibly six books, possibly three two-book volumes)

  5. Have you read Plato's The Republic?

  6. If yes to question 5, in what ways do you think this project might be inspired specifically by The Republic and what elements and themes from The Republic might you expect to encounter, if any, and why/why not?

  7. Any other thoughts/comments?

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Thank you for your time.

edited for clarity and to add a question

Original post


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