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.