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Writing Books/How do I choose the correct name for my story


QUESTION: Hello :) I'm writing a teen fiction about vampires, I came across a name that I thought would be good "Vagility" which means "ability to succeed in the struggle for existence" I think the meaning is great it suits my story well I was just wondering if "Vagility" is a good name for a book ? and would people read a vampire story called "Vagility" ?

ANSWER: The word did sound intriguing, but the definition did not sound right to me, so I looked it up in Merriam-Webster, the dictionary preferred by most book publishers in America. M-W defines vagile, from which vagility derives, as meaning "free to move about," and it originates from the Latin "vagus," which means "wandering." While I find the word interesting, especially for its near-prurient sound, because it is similar to vagina, if the word is used as part of or as a complete title, be sure it is used and defined correctly within the book.

Vagile also begins with a V, as does vampire, which gives an author yet another reason to use the word in a title.

Would people read a vampire story called Vagility? Only a focus group or actual sales can give a definitive answer to that question.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi again :) the word "Vagility" was actually a second option on a name for my story, my first choice was "TheCircle" but I thought it sounded similar to L. J. Smith's "The Secret Circle". What is your opinion on that ? would "TheCircle" still be a good choice ?

Of the two options, the first one could lead to intrigue and draw readers in to read the story to find out the meaning of the title. The second one, as one word, looks like a typographical error. As two words, it does not titillate a reader's imagination. It looks like a label, rather than a title. If it were my story, I would use "Vagility" in a longer title, such as "A Matter of Vagility" or "Exhausted Vagility," even "Wanton Vagility," etc.  

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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