I’m working hard to finish the first draft The Tin Whistle, the final book of the Lattice Trilogy. It’s close enough that I’m thinking back to how and why I began writing these books. This is in some part fueled by nostalgia, as I know that I’m wrapping up a six and a half year project (counting from the time I first starting typing).
But it’s also necessary: finishing up a trilogy means closing a lot of loops and bringing the story to a close in a way that harkens back to the beginning. For example: right now I’m working on a major scene in Book III, the groundwork for which I laid on the first page of Book I.
As I was writing that first book, I started writing without knowing the title. I knew it was Book I of The Lattice Trilogy. But the three titles within that trilogy? I really didn’t know.
I always appreciate book series where the titles were all related somehow, but I wasn’t sure how I would name each book when the first one wasn’t even finished yet! I knew the gist of the last two books in a hazy outline with some key plot points, but that was about it.
After a lot of research, I was finally inspired by His Dark Materials, the young adult fantasy trilogy by Philip Pullman. The three books in his trilogy were The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. I liked the idea that his books were unified by being named after objects (though it’s slightly complicated by the fact that the UK title for the first book wasn’t a part of this concept).
I tried many ideas for naming schemes for my trilogy. But eventually what stuck was metal. I knew that the Lattice itself was made of metal (rhodium) and I eventually that let me to the idea of using metals on the periodic table as a unifying theme. Lead, Iron, and Tin. Each paperback has the period symbol of the title on its spine. (Pb, Fe, Sn if you are wondering).
The Lead Cloak references a dome of lead that is a plot point in the first book, but also suggests the secrecy that a group of “raiders” must maintain for their plan.
The Iron Harvest is an explicit reference to the bombs that are (even still today) being unearthed in Europe, dangerous remnants of World War I. The idea of an iron harvest as a fallout of a war was exactly what I was looking to write about in Book II, and in fact, it was this title that made me latch onto this naming scheme.
The Tin Whistle is another name for a “penny whistle” that could be found at carnivals in Britain in the 19th and 20th century. All I can say for now is that its relevance to the theme of third book is important enough I won’t say much about it here!
Titles of each “act”
There’s another way that I unified the books, though I would guess few have noticed. For whatever reason, I decided each part of each book would be titled with a representative single word, and furthermore that the world would start with the letter S and be plural. Why? I really don’t know. I liked the cadence of it, and that will have to be enough. These are the nine parts of the story:
The Lead Cloak
The Iron Harvest
The Tin Whistle
If you’ve read the first two books, you can probably identify how each title relates to that part of the story.
And since I haven’t published The Tin Whistle yet, “Shears,” “Saints,” and “Spheres” may be considered a spoiler, so my apologies if I gave away too much of the final book. 😉 Although I will add that starting and ending with “Spheres” is another subtle way to bring the trilogy back to the beginning and bring it to a close.
Anyway, enough with the updates. I’ll be at a writing retreat all next week where I expect to make a lot of progress. Back to writing!