Titles are hard. You may just wanna scroll down to the candidate splatter!
I discussed this a little last week. The Game of Thrones issue, remember? I don't want the name of the first book being confused for the series as a whole. Therefore, I wanna make sure the name only works for the first episode, not the whole series.
So. Despite what I'd like to tell you, there's nothing artisan about naming this garbage. There's no intrigue, no subtle psychology you need to employ. You summarize your story and you use the most attractive words possible. That's it.
Immediately, I think of two H-words; Hunter and Harvest. Yep, you can facepalm, it's fine. What you can't do is deny that there's a Harvest of Hunters going on in this book. Chomp collects four hunters as easily as if they were wheat, he plants them, and he eats what grows out of them.
Harvest of Hunters is fair. I go back and forth between hating it and being warm to it. I don't love it, so maybe we can do better.
If a word doesn't work, an author's first instinct is to use a synonym. A cheap trick, at best; nobody wants to say they solved a problem by plugging it into a thesaurus. It just seems so pedestrian, amirite? Well, in the end, nobody gives a damn. If we don't like Harvest, which we don't about 50% of the time so far, we could think of using Reap instead. A Reaping of Hunters, or A Reaper of Hunters could work. Let's face it, Reap and Reaping/Reaper are very cool words. Am I sold, though?
I'm a terrible salesman, so no, I have not yet sold myself.
We could easily plug into an endless loop this way. It's probably good that's possible, because we'd have a lot more plagiarism going on if there weren't as many words in the English language. We don't even need to use a synonym for Hunter if we don't like that word, we can use any of the words that these hunters also are. You know, Human, Family, Meatbags, Glorified Apes. We could easily give this exercise to a second grade class and just use the result they agree on.
A Reaping of Humans, Meatbag Harvest, Planting the Glorified Apes, you get the idea. Unfortunately, we've spent way too much wordspace on the one idea. Yes, a harvesting of hunters occurs in this story. But is it the only thing that occurs? Is it the essence of the plot?
Much of it involves Dahlia's grooming into a hunter; many of the chapters are titled as some kind of lesson. From a literary standpoint, if we were to label this story as a parable, the moral of the story is forgiveness; or, at least, not propagating the cycle of revenge. Plus, since we we'd describe our genre as 'more fantasy than survival horror,' maybe the Hunter and Harvest angle isn't the one we want to use to attract our fellow wizard-unicorn nerds.
Even in a work this short, there's a lot of ground for one title to cover.
So maybe our best option is to just vomit a bunch of the themes out and see if any chunks look appetizing. Wow, I might have picked the worst metaphor possible for this!
The "Hunter Harvest" category. If we want to name it for Chomp's exploits in the story...
A Harvest of Hunters, A Harvesting of Hunters (does that somehow flow better than Harvest?), Harvester of Hunters, Hunters' Harvest (nah, that means the hunters are the ones harvesting, not the other way around), Harvesting Hunters (same problem), The Hunter Harvest (ambiguous, but perhaps workable), The Harvester's Hunt, When a Harvester Hunts.
You could insert any combination of 'Reap' instead of 'Harvest,' could put People, Family, Siblings, etc. in place of 'hunters'. A Reaping of Siblings, The People Reaper, and so on. Reap is such a cool word, but we may be playing with fire. Trolls could have a lot of fun with how similar it sounds to 'rape,' and the last thing we want to do is encourage any rape jokes.
No, guys, rape is never funny!
The "Scholastic" category. If we want to name it for the 'coming of age' theme and the 'lesson' chapters.
Wild Magic 101, A Course on Vengeance, Intro to Magic Woodcraft
The "Mistakes and Scars" category. There's a good line about 'em in Chapter 10 (at least, I liked it), and I like the 'live with no regrets' message behind it.
Proud Mistakes and Beautiful Scars
The "Vengeful Rabbit" category (seriously!)
If Rabbits Held Grudges
The "Dawnless Woods" category
The Dark Habitat, Working (or Surviving or Hunting in) the Long Night
Look, I called it vomit, didn't I? Some of these are bound to be absolutely disgusting! I'll edit in (and credit you for) any suggestions you make, so please, make some suggestions!