Use of "china Doll" in title

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dennis7490

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I'd like to hear from as many Asians as possible on this.
I'm writing a novel which I have titled "A China Doll's Revenge" or something to that effect. But I would like "China Doll" to be in the title. "China Doll" has so many meanings, and is sometimes derogatory, sometimes not. But considering this is about revenge, I'm thinking that the preconceived notion of a frail, submissive woman is not the case. It certainly isn't in the book. She's everything but.
Nonetheless, I would like to hear opinions from those with Asian backgrounds.
Thanks,
Dennis Manuel
 

Snitchcat

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Asian or Chinese?

Btw, "China doll" is very derogatory.
 

JulianneQJohnson

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I think you might want to consider another title. Not only because it might offend folks, but because it will never show up in a google search. There are too many things named that, a famous song, a well known play, another novel, and apparently quite a few Chinese restaurants.

The meaning of China Doll started as a reference to porcelain dolls, it then became a very derogatory term for Asian women. It might turn off some readers, which means they will never see that your MC is anything but. If you love the title, consider something along the lines of Nobody's China Doll. only better written and thought out. :D
 

dennis7490

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Thank you both for the input.
Snitchcat, the main character is Chinese.
So far three out of three women didn't like the title. One guy did. The one woman who read the book really liked the book, but not the title. The book is about a very strong, young Chinese woman who was kidnapped as a child and is bent on revenge. There's a lot of acton, violence, and some sex.
Back to the drawing board!
 

Snitchcat

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Hi, Dennis,

To clarify: I'm Chinese. I hate that title. I despise that term. And I find it extremely offensive.

Anyway, I meant did you want Chinese readers or Asian readers, meaning all the nationalities on this continent? Sorry about the lack of clarity in my earlier post. Asia is a vast continent, and equating China to all of it? That's... well, rather silly. :)


ETA:
Huh, that came across aggressively! Anyhow, I agree with JulianneQJohnson: Please find another title, e.g., "Unbreakable China" (I think that's already taken by something?), or "Not Porcelain", "Or Crockery Not Included", or something. Good luck! :)
 
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dennis7490

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Snitchcat,
Exactly the information I wanted. The one thing I do not want to do is alienate Chinese women with the title. I'm not married to "China Doll" and if it evokes such strong emotions then the search is on.
Thanks for being direct. "Crockery Not Included" is very funny.
 

dennis7490

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What do you both think about ASIAN FURY?
 

Snitchcat

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Hehehe. Right now, I'm trying not to. I have a pet peeve with the word "Asian".

From my perspective, I see a continent with 47+ diverse general nationalities on it, ranging from the Near East to the Middle East to the Far East. I'm not sure what "Asian" should refer to, then. If "Asian" is a reference to Chinese, then, I don't see it. And resent the fact that, apparently, China is the only country on this continent.

That said, it's your book, your title. Yes, this is a cop out when it comes to opinions about book titles; however, I'm not the be-all-end-all of Chinese opinions. Some care, some don't; I just happen to be on the "care a lot" side.

Btw, do you really need nationality in the title? Curious, is all.

Anyway, not trying to be obtuse. Do any of the following help in some way?


  • Phoenix Rising
  • Not Your China
  • An Eye for an Eye
  • Through the Porcelain Cup
  • Dowry
  • Scorned Phoenix
  • Chipped Porcelain
  • Fated Vengeance
  • Not Your Cup of Tea
 

dennis7490

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Snitchcat

Thanks for the input and suggestions.

I don't need nationality in the title but like the idea of letting someone know in the title that it has something to do with Asia, and specifically China. There is in the western psyche a mysterious attraction to things from Asia, and that in itself has an appeal. So, mentioning that in the title might pique someone's interest to at least look at the back cover.
I like Chipped Porcelain and Fated Vengeance. I also like Through the Porcelain Cup, but it sounds like a mystery, which this is not. It's pretty much straight forward action. If possible I would like to get "China" in the title, since "Asian" is too general. So, if you can think of anything with China in the title that is not insulting to Chinese women I would appreciate it.
The reason why I liked "A China Doll's Revenge" was that it let the reader know that the protagonist was a Chinese woman bent on revenge. And all of that in the title. But, as I said before, not a single woman I put this to liked it. Like you they all felt it was derogatory, which of course I don't want.

And again, thank you for the thought you've put into this. I really do appreciate it.
Ironically there is a book out called CHINA DOLL written by a woman. I haven't read it, but I think she'a NYT bestseller author. I read a review, so I'm a little light on details, but it's about three Chinese women in the 1930s in the U.S.
 

Snitchcat

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From what I've gathered, China Dolls is a novel about Chinese American nightclubs in the 1930s/40s. The title is fitting because it goes with the era and actually highlights the seediness and disreputable reputation of such places. Obviously, it's playing on a stereotype, but that was the point.

Do you have any more information about your story? It's difficult to come up with titles without information.

Also, since this is kind of turning into a research / brainstorming thread, perhaps consider asking a mod to port this thread to the research forum or the sandbox? You might get more views and feedback than in the International District.
 

Chase

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Btw, "China doll" is very derogatory.

I have a pet peeve with the word "Asian".

I understand. I think Snitchcat feels about labels as I do about "white" describing my skin or race.

To a lesser degree, I'm also at odds with "dude" as a glib descriptor for men. Where I grew up, a dude was a newcomer who dressed inappropriately for farm and ranch work and who could not sit a horse well.

Don't get me started on the derogatory word for males a moderator once called me in a failed attempt to goad me into trading gender names so she could ban me. Especially in a place like Absolute Write, labels can be hurtful.
 

Elaine Margarett

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I had a china doll handed down to me from my mother. It was made of porcelain and had movable arms although the legs were part of the torso and didn't move. China dolls were also called porcelain dolls. Mine had blond hair and blue eyes.

That's the image I formed when I saw "China Doll." I'm guessing that's not what you meant, nor probably the image who want in a reader's take on your title. Good Luck, though!
 
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dennis7490

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This is the first draft f the query letter. It will give you an idea of the story. And thank you everyone for input.
Dear ?

According to your agency’s website you are looking forprojects that explore subcultures or topics that haven’t quite broken into the mainstream.” I believe my book ASIAN FURY addresses that.

ASIAN FURY is the story of Veronica, a twenty-five year old Asian paladin bent on revenge against those who kidnapped her and her sister, Lien, in China when she was twelve and Lien was eight. They were brought to the United States in the hold of a ship carrying dozens of kidnapped children, a dehumanizing and horrific trip. Veronica and Lien were saved by Chang, an older prostitute who took them in and raised them as her own in New York City.

We meet Veronica when she is twenty-five, spying on Henry Woo, a fat middle aged Asian man who shanghaies Asian children, and brings them to the United States to be sold as sex slaves. He’s enjoying himself with a young Asian girl, and Veronica wants to kill him then and there, but she knows the young girl would be killed by Woo’s henchmen. She decides to wait for a better time, as one of her rules of engagement is that no innocents lose their life.

She consults with her mentor, Lee, a drug dealer who Veronica met in the hold of the ship that brought them to the United States. He was also trafficked as a sex slave. He gives Veronica the money to carry on their shared vendetta against human traffickers, and saving children. They call their mission “The Paintbrush”, based on an Asian fairytale.

Lee tells her that Henry Woo is too rich and big to go after at the moment. But there is another villain, The Professor, a drug dealer and human trafficker who has a chain of brothels in New York City where he sells young children to rich old men. But, he is well protected, ruthless and smart, so she will need help.

Veronica saves the children from The Professor’s brothels, but The Professor escapes. Veronica does succeed in bringing down Henry Woo with the help of an NYPD detective, David Chen.

She knows her fight will never end, that she must live a lonely life to hide what she does, but she accepts this as the price to pay to save the children.

ASIAN FURY is set in New York City, and runs about 62,000 words. It is action packed with explicit violence and sex, and geared towards an adult audience.

I’m a produced television writer and screenwriter, a member of the WGA,w, and have several novels on Amazon, with an audio version of two of my novels on www.newfiction.com, where you can listen to them for free.

Thanks very much for your time. I have included the first two chapters and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Dennis Manuel
 

Snitchcat

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First issue: "Asian".

Who is your primary reader?

While "China/Chinese" might be a good thing in the title, if the content doesn't follow through, it's a disservice and infuriating.

I am on the wrong device to type this. BBIAB.
 
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dennis7490

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Readers:

Probably men, although it might appeal to some women. My main reader is a woman and she liked it, so who knows. Certainly adults, but one never really knows what appeals to whom.
Once I get the title figured out I'm gong to post the query on the query forum, where it will get more viewers and (most likely) many more opinions.
 

Tom Johnson

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I agree that you need a better title, but I like the premise of the story and hope to read it some day. I write a lot of action novels, and have numerous characters of Oriental descent. You might consider a title like DEATH CURE, or POINT OF DEATH or DEATH'S FURY. It doesn't need any reference to Chinese or Asian in the title. Good luck with your story. Do let us know what you come up with.
 

Snitchcat

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Continuing from previously:

What's Veronica's Chinese name? You might find a title that's suitable using her name -- that'd give you Chinese without saying "Chinese" or "China".

Anyway, a few more suggestions:
  • The Empress's War
  • The Porcelain Empress
  • Forgotten Imperial Treasure
  • The Art of Revenge / Vengeance / Fury
  • Wrath of the Paintbrush
  • Born of Slavery, Rich by Fury / Vengeance
  • To Finish the Art of Vengeance / Rage
  • Porcelain Paintbrush
  • Dark Ink, Brush Moves, Heart Dreams (can't think what a better translation might be. The idea here is that the intensity of the ink forces the master artist to paint, which forces the heart to dream. Maybe see the next idea for a better sense of what I'm trying to get at.) (The original Chinese version I was thinking of: 墨水浓,毛笔动,心需梦.)
  • A Porcelain Brush to Paint the Ink-dark Heart (NB: traditional Chinese ink is very very black, but if used correctly, it creates an extensive spectrum of beautiful greys.)
  • The Ink, the Brush, and the Empress's Heart
  • Chinese Ink, Porcelain Brush, Empress's Heart (I'm done with the ink / brush / heart combo now. :p )
  • Chipped Porcelain Treasure
  • Fury's Path
  • Phoenix's Blessing, Fragile Child of China (think contrasts: a phoenix is the empress of the earth; a dragon is the emperor of the sky.)
  • Chinese Justice
  • Over-steeped Tea
  • Crockery Doesn't Expire; It Just Gets Even
  • A Dream of Red/Porcelain/China Fury

Yeah, gonna stop there. Lol! Have fun with this!
 

dennis7490

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Wow! Thank you Snitchcat and Tom!
"Wrath of the Paintbrush" I'm going to let that sink in for a while, but that could be a keeper. The original title was "The Paintbrush" but my friend said it wasn't strong enough. That's when I went the China Doll route. I had a list of synonyms for Fury and wrath was one of them. This ties in the wrath and the paintbrush tale.
 

dennis7490

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The Brush's Fury
China fury
China Vengeance
Daiyo's Fury
Daiyo's Justice

What think you?
 

Snitchcat

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I take it Daiyo is Veronica's Chinese name?

How do you pronounce "yo"?
 

Tom Johnson

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I hate using hyphenated titles like Korean-American, but I have a heroine named Hui Yo Chae, and American of Korean descent, as a main character, and she prefers "Yo". And I like that name. You could use her name in the title, as others have mentioned, such as Yo's Fury. Vengeance Is Named Yo, etc. Heck, just My Name Is Yo! (Remember the Modesty Blaise movie, My Name Is Modesty? That worked well for Quentin Tarantino.) There are so many possibilities.
 

Snitchcat

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There's one problem with "Yo" as a Chinese name. I've never seen it. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist; it's highly probable that the romanised pinyin doesn't use that spelling.

So, if the title is "Daiyo's Fury", then I'll be scratching my head: What sort of name is "Daiyo"?

ETA: I won't be thinking Chinese.
 
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dennis7490

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Hello Snitchcat and Tom.
I've on the QLH forum and getting my ass kicked. Seems I'm totally incapable of writing a query, or anything even resembling a query. I may just go with my first one that I posted here, once I decide on a title. I can't write how to pronounce Daiyo, but if you google it there's a site that gives you an audio version.
I'm probably going with either "China Fury" or Daiyo's Fury/Vengeance, etc. one of those.
I would love both of your opinions on my query that I posted above to give you a better idea of the story.
I'd love to read some of what you've both written. Snitchcat I read your blog on "Depression in Hong Kong" and really liked it. Liked the style.
Tom, I looked at your list of books and wouldn't know where to begin. You must write 24.7. Send me three titles that you really like.
Ciao,
Dennis
 

dennis7490

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Snitchtcat,
RE the name. should be Daiyu thank you for the correction. I will go back and fix it wherever it needs fixing.
 

Snitchcat

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Directly: this isn't the thread or forum for critiques. However, I think you've gotten some great responses in QLH.

My recommendation: post the first few hundred words from the novel in SYW; it will help you with your query letter.
 

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