By Jessica Duchen

Odette, Swan Lake’s enchanted swan princess, is still trying to break her spell

Monday, 18 September 2017

What's in a name?

Above: a breakthrough?

Answer: quite a lot. Especially if it's not so much a name, but a title. A book has to have the right title. Can you imagine 'Gone with the Wind', 'Wuthering Heights' or '1984' being called anything else? A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but if you pick a title that doesn't resound, it's not going to do its content any favours. 

I've been aware for a good while that 'Meeting Odette' is a little too in-yer-face for the story within and I've been hunting for something better. Attending a ballet gala this weekend in Hull, the UK's City of Culture 2017, I unexpectedly stumbled over a project that gave me an idea. A hundred local children were taking part in a dance project inspired by 'Swan Lake', drawing on the power of flight and the images of birds local and otherwise, called 'Take Flight' - and it struck me that 'Meeting Odette' is all about taking flight, in any number of ways. 

Odette has, of course, taken flight as a swan, but wants to take flight from her spell. Mary wants to take flight from the weights of her life - her bereavement and her bullying boss - and feels she has so much more to give if she can only get off the ground. Patrick takes flight when he steps onto a stage to play Oberon, but faced with a bigger challenge in the form of unexpected passion, will he take flight from that? And all of this in a contemporary Britain obsessed with taking flight to dubious extremes. 

So I propose changing the book's title to TAKING FLIGHT. And I'd love to know what you think.

It it better or worse than the original? Can you think of anything that would be better still? Please write and tell me - you're my audience, so you know what might work best for you!

Vast thanks and lots of love,

Jessica x


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William Griffin
 William Griffin says:

'Taking Flight' seems to me a good alternative title. I must admit, I very much liked 'Meeting Odette'. I can see that my ballet bias influences my reaction. I wonder if the two titles can coexist in some way? A 'Taking Flight (meetings with Odette)' approach. A bit cumbersome, perhaps. 'The Lake of her Tears' has a nice air of mystery, romance and weepiness!

posted 18th September 2017

Henriette B. Stavis
 Henriette B. Stavis says:

"Taking Flight" has many different nuances of meaning. However, "Meeting Odette" has mystic and ballet connotations, which "Taking Flight" does not. The name "Odette" is unusual, so people who do not immediately think of Swan Lake may be drawn to the unusual name? Or perhaps even pare it down to "Odette" or simply "Swan" may work?

posted 18th September 2017

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