The Naming of the Arc

by Cooper Young

I must buy handkerchiefs; it’s undignified for me to keep wiping my nose on my hands during Mass.  There is sorrow in my heart tonight, friends, a terrible sorrow.  It is the mourning of one who has scorned a party, too good for it, and instead stands at the window and watches with a crippling loneliness.

Thus, tonight I will speak of joy.

Descent is not meant to stand alone.  There was a time when it was, long back, back in the very beginning, but since then I have decided I cannot simply let a tragedy remain a tragedy.  There are two more books meant to follow it; the third and last will end in final happiness. 

 What has troubled me, though is what to call this whole mess, this trilogy.  It has been a quandry, make no mistake.  A series title cannot be lightly chosen.  First, there is the question of what sort of series it is; a series? a sequence? a cycle? a simple trilogy? an epic? a saga?  That alone is a heavy question, and one I dare not answer incorrectly.  Let us face facts; regardless of one’s opinion of the Twilight books, they can hardly by definition be called a “saga”.  They neither relate the history of a family, relate heroic deeds (in the true sense of the word), or are of Norse origin.  Good or bad, they are not a saga.  Once that has been determined, what do I call the overarching story itself?  Do I call it after one of the books, as so many others (Cooper, LeGuin, Meyers) have done?  After a character (Rowling)?  After the setting (Lewis, Jaques)?  The true thematic subject (Tolkien, Nix)?  Do I give it a name all its own?

It was in the shower tonight as I was babbling to myself in a half-whisper (as is my wont) that the answer came to me, not in a flash of light or bolt from above, but in a murmered phrase that I nearly blew past and forgot in my prattling haste.  It gave me a moment’s pause, however, and I stopped; I stopped, and I thought, and I knew.  A phrase unassuming, unpretentious, and as wholesomely, lyrically simplistic as “There and Back Again”:

A Story Twice Divided.

The full title of the first book shall be, then: Descent: A Science-Fiction Tragedy, and the First Portion of A Story Twice Divided.

The best part was that, as I was scribbling on the fogged shower door (again, my wont), I noticed that two divisions between three parts, that is, how I would draw them in the wild, arm waving diagrams I tend to use to illustrate my stories, is identical to the tribal symbol of the protagonist: a pair of parallel vertical lines. 

Perfect.

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