Question for Groupmind

Posted: October 29th, 2013 under Reader Help.

Without knowing anything about the plot, and just on your first reaction, which of the following titles would be most attractive to you for a story?

A) “Forethought”    B) “Mercenary’s Honor”   C)  “Meeting of Minds”   D) “Old Age and Treachery”  E) “Learning Experience”   F) None of the Above and here’s my suggestion.

I do not promise to name the story by popularity, but I am interested in the reactions.   (Editors may request a title change if they’ve already bought another story with the same title, for instance.  Also, the bolt from the blue may present me with the perfect title twenty-eight minutes and forty seconds after I send this live.)   Suggestions are welcome, but understand that–since you don’t know who, where, when, or what’s gone on, they may be miles off  Point Possibility.


  • Comment by Nixye — October 29, 2013 @ 8:06 am


    D) Old Age and Treachery

  • Comment by s.e. — October 29, 2013 @ 8:12 am


    I vote for D

  • Comment by arkessian — October 29, 2013 @ 8:29 am


    D) Old Age and Treachery.

  • Comment by Zainab — October 29, 2013 @ 8:32 am


    I like B.

  • Comment by Sharidann — October 29, 2013 @ 8:34 am


    I like D and B.

  • Comment by Rob — October 29, 2013 @ 8:57 am


    I prefer B.

    It draws attention, gives an expectation of mercenaries, and possible betrayal. It would move me to pick it up off the shelf to at least read the back-cover.

    How about bringing B and D together:

    A Mercenary’s Honor, on Old Age and Betrayal

  • Comment by wilder125 — October 29, 2013 @ 9:11 am


    B sounded better when I mis-read it as “Mercenary’s Horror”

    D stuck to my mind

  • Comment by Beth — October 29, 2013 @ 9:27 am


    D. It promises something a little different.

  • Comment by june — October 29, 2013 @ 9:33 am


    Mercenary’s Honor

  • Comment by Tuppenny — October 29, 2013 @ 9:44 am


    A lot of recent titles have mercenary something in them – so D and maybe E

  • Comment by Michelle — October 29, 2013 @ 10:01 am


    I like B.

  • Comment by Bill Ruppert — October 29, 2013 @ 10:03 am


    B. Mercenary’s Honor

  • Comment by Annabel — October 29, 2013 @ 10:14 am


    A or B. I think on balance A, Forethought, but Mercenary’s Honour (sorry, my fingers just won’t DO American spelling!) is intriguing, too.

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — October 29, 2013 @ 10:30 am


    At age 63, what else but “Old Age and Treachery”?

  • Comment by Elentarien — October 29, 2013 @ 10:37 am


    Definitely Mercenary’s Honour. It sounds like it holds possibility for adventure, romance and exciting things. The other look like they could be for chapters – but not a full story-title. None of the others really seem to hold much adventure. . .or anything of any real interest, really.

    No suggestions. As you say, not knowing the story makes it hard to even guess at a title.

  • Comment by Peter Granzeau — October 29, 2013 @ 10:51 am


    I vote for (B).

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — October 29, 2013 @ 10:56 am


    I’m taking this to be in conjunction with the story that had 2 POVs and now is just one and so is a short, inside an anthology.

    B is intriguing as it implies a solitary, individual honor among mercenaries.

    Personally I think D is a bit “wordy” for a short story title.

    A, C, and E all promise a lesson. We just don’t know what it is until we read the story. They each could be a memorable title if the story is decidedly “different” enough in the “lesson”.

    Here’s a totally off the wall, too long title, “What Happens on the Mountain …” (stays, doesn’t stay on the mountain) Leave, don’t leave ellipses or not. Same for the extras in the parens.

  • Comment by LarryP — October 29, 2013 @ 10:58 am


    Elizabeth’s Moons Forethought: meetings of minds.
    yes I like that one.

  • Comment by Signy — October 29, 2013 @ 10:58 am


    B & D get my vote

  • Comment by Eloise — October 29, 2013 @ 11:27 am


    Treacherous Honor
    When Honor Fails
    Learning Treachery
    Mercenaries Insight

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 29, 2013 @ 12:49 pm


    Thank you all for the votes and the comments beyond the votes.

    Yes, this is the story I’ve posted about recently, the one that had two POVs and is now down to one.

  • Comment by mette — October 29, 2013 @ 3:35 pm


    A bit late for the party maybe, but I prefer a or e.
    Both are vague in the good way, but then, I like my titles short and mysterious enough that it makes me pick up the book to read more.
    Plus, both imply a little of the story, without giving away anything about the contents.
    If that makes sense.

  • Comment by mette — October 29, 2013 @ 3:39 pm


    Oh. And mercenarys honor makes me think about lackey’s mercenary books. Even though I don’t think their titles include the actual word mercenary.

  • Comment by GeekLady — October 29, 2013 @ 5:02 pm


    B or D. I really like D, yet at the same time if feels a little long for a short story.

    I will say, my husband would buy D just for the title.

  • Comment by Jjmcgaffey — October 29, 2013 @ 5:19 pm


    B or D. B, particularly combined with your name, signals to me that it’s likely a Paksworld story. D is a sly joke – indicates there’s probably some humor in the story as well. The others don’t signal much of anything to me.

  • Comment by John Hicks — October 29, 2013 @ 6:01 pm


    I go for B.

  • Comment by Richard — October 29, 2013 @ 6:27 pm


    F – turn B into “Hired Honor” (or “Honor for Hire”, whichever fits better).

    (Or G, turn D into the shorter saying “Age before Beauty”. If that fits which of the two potential POVs you’ve settled on.

    (Here’s what I get for looking in not at breakfast-time but last thing of the evening, I’m not at my brightest. Old age, treachery – not things I’m interested in reading about. Wait a minute, isn’t that the start of a saying or quotation? What’s the full quote?
    When I get it, that makes an awfully long title, and will it be a story I care to read?)

    For the rest, no strong reaction:

    A – mildly favorable (maybe simply because it appeared first)

    C mildly favourable too.

    E, second reaction – could be a neat title for a story from the POV of a new member of a school’s board of governors.

  • Comment by Lise — October 29, 2013 @ 7:51 pm


    I vote for B

  • Comment by Kathy_S — October 29, 2013 @ 8:58 pm


    Age and Treachery?

  • Comment by Anthony Clum — October 29, 2013 @ 9:09 pm


    E. Open to many shades of meaning.

  • Comment by Iphinome — October 29, 2013 @ 9:58 pm


    I like B

  • Comment by Wesley — October 29, 2013 @ 10:42 pm


    B is my preference.

  • Comment by Moira — October 29, 2013 @ 11:36 pm


    I can see “Mercenary’s Honor” being favoured by the publishers; it has that slick, populist feel to it. But I have to say (and I’m thoroughly amused at how many of us seem to feel the same) that “Old Age and Treachery” piques my interest. And twisted sense of humour.

    It’s true: as we get older, we do appreciate the finer things in life. Like twistedness. 😉

    Which of course means that (I would be completely interested anyway, but) if “Old Age and Treachery” is a possible title, I look forward to this one immensely!

  • Comment by Jim Marriner — October 30, 2013 @ 12:00 am


    I like both D and B. But if i had to chose a clear winner it would be D. As I get older i understand just how treacherous us old folks can be. We dont have the speed and strength of youth, at least I dont anymore. Old Age and Treachery would grab my attention and beg to be read.

  • Comment by Daisy Kirkpatrick — October 30, 2013 @ 5:17 am



  • Comment by Jeff Foley — October 30, 2013 @ 7:01 am


    I like D, with the suggestions I’ve seen above to shorten it to “Age and Treachery”.

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 30, 2013 @ 7:31 am


    Story has been submitted…late last night, fiddling with it, realized I was at the “messing about moving commas” stage.

    It went off as “Mercenary’s Honor.”

  • Comment by Ellen — October 31, 2013 @ 2:06 am


    I like “Meeting of Minds”

  • Comment by Richard — October 31, 2013 @ 4:31 am


    If subtitles for novels were still in fashion (remember which book, not Elizabeth’s, is also known as There and Back Again?) then we could have had, fittingly

    — or —
    Old Age and Treachery

    Stammel’s last stand is an excellent illustration of the adage.

  • Comment by Iphinome — October 31, 2013 @ 6:37 am



    _Hunting Party_

    One woman’s descent into the mysterious world of horses fox hunting and high intrigue.

  • Comment by becky — October 31, 2013 @ 7:55 am


    Oh! I would love to link responders’ ages with their choices. Being old…D.

  • Comment by Gareth — October 31, 2013 @ 9:37 am


    Also being old(ish) I like D though I’ve always fancied a shortened version of keep your friends close and your enemies closer. ‘Close enemies’ – again knowing nothing about the story just impressions from the titles you suggest.

  • Comment by GinnyW — October 31, 2013 @ 1:08 pm


    I am too late to vote, but I liked Forethought [For thought/Four thought]. Old Age and Treachery sounds intrigueing (spelling?) but no ring. A Treacherous Old Age?

  • Comment by Dawn Roseberry — October 31, 2013 @ 8:44 pm


    F) “Concurrence” or “Concurrency” (I like the last one if money is involved)

  • Comment by Rowanmdm — November 1, 2013 @ 12:03 pm


    I love Old Age and Treachery.

  • Comment by rkduk — November 1, 2013 @ 4:12 pm


    Old Age and Treachery would grab my attention before the others, but the real joy of reading a good story is its unfolding, and how well it fits its title is part of that. So I have to say that the best title is the one that is the story’s best handle. And since I haven’t read the story …

  • Comment by Richard — November 2, 2013 @ 8:11 am


    Bargains is one title that does fit a fun little story well (and I do mean little, only about five pages).

    From which you should gather that I read some short stories last month. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and commerce, and a gift certificate for almost exactly the right amount (including buying Dragonwriter), I now have second hand copies (through Amazon partners) of both Phases (Elizabeth’s anthology) and Horse Fantastic (with one story from Elizabeth). To get the latter in particular from the USA to the UK so easily is remarkable, something I’d never have imagined twenty or thirty years ago.

  • Comment by AThornton — November 6, 2013 @ 12:25 am


    “Mercenary’s Honor” makes me think of the A. E. Houseman poem:

    Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

    These, in the day when heaven was falling,
    The hour when earth’s foundation fled,
    Followed their mercenary calling,
    And took their wages and are dead.

    Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
    They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;
    What God abandoned, these defended,
    And saved the sum of things for pay.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 6, 2013 @ 7:19 am


    Thanks for bringing that one to our attention.

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