Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Prologues, Opening Chapters and a taste of things to come.

It's Day 9 of my writing streak but I thought I turn this into a general post rather than a simple update because I've hit a scene that I wish I could have at the opening of the story.

If you haven't read the previous posts, here's a quick update: I'm between projects at the moment, (about to start edits of Buttercup #2) so I thought I'd take and old script and have a bit of a play. I spent a week re-planning and plotting the whole thing and began a complete rewrite nine days ago.

Today, I'm really happy. Not in the amount of words written, but in that I've knocked out a key scene which has turned out lovely and horribly and creepy. Proper shivers down your spine stuff. That's when I had a moment of thinking, 'Ah, if only I could kick the story off with something like this.'

Of course, I can't because it's a turning point, but if I've got that lying in wait somewhere in the middle of the book, I really need to give the reader a hint of what to expect. That's one of the things I addressed when I planned this version - you need the reader to be sure of the kind of book they are reading. This is why agents ask for your first three chapters on a submission and not your best three. If you can't let the reader know what they're in for right there, you've already lost them.

One trick is to write a Prologue. Prologues are fiction Marmite - some love 'em, some hate 'em.
Personally, I quite like reading Prologues, but I rarely use them. A better trick is to use similar language to describe the ordinary opening scene with key words that give a flavour of what's to come.

The best example I can think of right now comes from William Gibson's "Neuromancer" which begins:

The sky above the port was the colour of television,
tuned to a dead channel.

Booom! Misery and technology in the first line.

In Buttercup, I made sure to show it was comedy and horror - a little girl with a chainsaw running to Granny's cottage pretty much nailed that. As for this current project...

Well, that's going to have to remain a secret, buried deep, deep down where the earth is cold, where the worms churn the soil in blind ignorance of what they're feeding upon.

Yeah... something like that.

Anyway, counts for today.

Day 9 words - 1,470 (200, 1,270)
Total so far - a nice round 17,000.

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