With book 2 out (now in physical version!), I feel like talking about titles again. I did so when I put out book 1, and people seemed interested in the ideas behind creating them, even if they didn’t click through to listen to any of the songs I referenced. Heathens!
Like Book 1, the title of Book 2 has gone through a few variations over the years. My earliest draft seems to be from 2009, under the title ‘The Spirit Seeker’, which isn’t a bad title, I guess… Just bland, and not actually pertinent to the final version. Goodreads tells me that at least three books have the same title, with a few more using ‘Spirit Seekers’ or adding another word or two — so nice to have dodged that competitive bullet.
The second title, debuting in 2011, was ‘The Shadow Sea’, which actually seems to be unique, but again it became less-than-pertinent to the text so I moved on from it. The current title, ‘The Splintered Eye’, has a doppelganger I just discovered — another book by the same name published in 1987. Not really concerned about my version getting mistaken for that one, heh.
Anyway, I chose The Splintered Eye for the title because I had decided on the appearance of the tarot card that would be the cover of the book. As you can see, it involves an eye and splinters (thorns), but there is a bit more to both the card and the title.
Readers of Book 1 might remember the concept of a soul-splinter, which is pulled from a donor and inserted into the soul of a victim and can then observe and sometimes control that person. Cob is still carrying a few of those splinters, and much of the plot revolves around removing them. However, they still have their own influence, their own missions…their own visions…
We’ll get to the card in a moment.
Book 2 is divided into Part 3 and Part 4, as I consider the whole series to be one big book chopped up by the impossibility of carrying around a 3000-page tome. (Or whatever the inevitable page-count will be.) Part 3 is called Concordia, which means ‘harmony’ or ‘with one heart’, and covers the chapters that bring Cob’s group together. He didn’t have a group in Book 1; most of the time he was alone or being dragged around by the collar, confused and irritated, but in Part 3 he collects actual allies and might actually bond with them. Wouldn’t that be nice.
It also might be a bit sarcastic, since they yell at him a lot.
Part 4 is called Mnema, a Greek word meaning monument or memorial or tomb. I probably shouldn’t say anything more.
On to the chapter titles!
Here again are a wide collection of book references, quote snippets, in-jokes, song titles, and anything else that popped into my mind and sounded appropriate for a chapter.
1: Out of the Woods — A combination of in-joke and media reference, this title comes from a lyric from the musical Into the Woods, which I was involved in as a theater tech in high school. ‘Into the woods, then out of the woods, and home before dark‘ is the characters’ plan for their individual quests; neat, no fuss, no complications. But of course that isn’t how it goes. This chapter has Cob reentering the civilized world after a while spent in the wilderness — sort of a flipped version of the musical, since he has to leave the dark forest in order to deal with his ‘curse’.
2: Sword, Torch and Hammer — Direct text reference.
3: Arrow’s Flight — Shout-out to a Mercedes Lackey book of the same name. I read a lot of Mercedes Lackey when I was a teen, and though I don’t actually remember anything about this one, I do remember the title. My favorites were the Vanyel books…
4: Allegiances — Direct reference.
5: The Grey Wraiths — This chapter used to be called Exit the Grey, in reference to the Diorama song of the same name. It was relevant to a different version of the character Ilshenrir (and was an inspiration for my realm of The Grey itself), but things have changed since then, so now it’s just a direct reference to the airahene.
6: Crimson and Gold, 7: Complications, 8: Blood on the Ice, Blood on the Sand, 9: Erestoia By-The-Sea, 10: Crimson Decisions, 11: The Citadel at Valent, 12: Turo — Direct references.
13: The Shadow Sea — Aha! The second title returns! This time, it’s in a place where it’s truly relevant. It’s an important theme for Cob, but not for the other characters, so I restricted it to a Cob-chapter where it’s actually…active.
14: Haaraka, 15: Crimson Adaptations, 16: The High Necromancer — Direct references.
17: Gate of Water — One of the cards from Cob’s tarot-style reading in book 1, and in fact the card on the cover. Since it’s the chapter where the cover-card comes into play, I don’t think I should say too much… Ehehehe….
18: Akarridi, 19: Shelter, 20: In the Court of the Risen Phoenix, 21: Imperial Actions — Direct references.
22: Ghost Town —This song by Shiny Toy Guns. Okay, the song isn’t really relevant and I would have used the title anyway, but…but…song!
23: Nightmare Study, 24: Firebird Garden — Direct references, and probably my favorite titles for this book.
25: Force Counterforce — A lyrical snippet from Odyssey into the Vacuum, again by Diorama. Another song that isn’t really relevant but which I listened to a lot while writing this chapter. I blame the Ravager. I might use the actual song title later on, when it works better, but at least the character who I associate it with is a big part of this chapter! And the snippet itself is relevant to the conflict here.
26: The Crush — Direct reference. Probably not what you think.
Aaaaand on the subject of music, I want to say that my characters have theme songs — some on a book-by-book basis, some as a part of a larger arc. One of Cob’s underlying theme songs has always been Disappoint, by Assemblage 23; it’s depressing as hell, I know. We saw a bit of it in book 1 and it echoes back to him in 2, because how could it not?
Meanwhile, Serve or Suffer by Absurd Minds is a good song for the antagonists. Mostly toward each other. Because they have issues.
Augh, so many songs I want to share, but they’re based in book 3… Guess I’ll have to bite my tongue for now. I don’t care if no one listens! SYNTH FOREVER!