Monday, July 25, 2011

To Chapter One or to Prologue: a call for help (and a couple of readers)

Okies, it's time. I have a few readers up *this* old sleeve, but none up *this* new sleeve and now I'm looking for a few more since I made a few changes to my draft.

My current dilemma: I have a good first chapter. BUT.... I also have a great Prologue. There are differing schools of thought as to whether a Prologue is necessary or, indeed, a good idea at all. Some call it a very old-fashioned way of starting a story. In other places where it is discussed online, it is deemed okay as long as there are clearly defined boundaries. See, for instance, here (source: here):

What Is A Prologue?
A prologue is used mainly for two reasons.
1. To outline the backstory quickly and economically, saving the author from having to resort to flashbacks or ruses such as conversations or memories to explain the background to the reader. This is commonly done in science fiction and fantasy to show why a certain quest is being undertaken or what will happen in the future. The prologue is a better option than a first chapter bogged down in detail.
2. To hook the reader and provide the story question right up front, giving them a reason to keep turning the pages to find out the answer. Quite often the prologue relates to a scene near the end of the story, and the story itself then shows what has led up to this moment. When is this justified? Perhaps when you want to introduce your characters in a more leisurely fashion, and your reader's experience with 'meeting' them will be enhanced by some sort of foreshadowing of what is to come.
Apart from these two reasons, a prologue can be used to introduce a certain character's viewpoint on one occasion only. The rest of the book may be told from just one other viewpoint, or from several different viewpoint characters that are in some way removed from the one you've used in the prologue. The prologue can bypass the danger of viewpoint violation.

So, with all that being said, I was wondering if there are any takers to put their hand up to read the first chapter (and Prologue) of my manuscript. What this will involve is reading approximately 7,000 words and giving your opinion, as the reader, on whether or not the two work together (for you personally). I guess, in a nutshell, I would like to hear from you how "hookie" it is. Does it hook you in? Are you compelled to turn the page?

If you are interested, please contact me via email - - and I'll just say it here... if I get a huge response, please do not be offended if I say 'thanks but no thanks'. There is only so much criticism, however constructive, that one can take at once. And it is with the utmost respect that I may politely decline your offer. Mind you..... if you are the only person who emails me, then consider yourself IN for a sneak peek preview!

*waiting with baited# breath and hitting Publish Post now........*

#Late edit: And this is why I love throwing the offer out there from time to time - I have been advised by someone in the know that the phrase is "bated" not "baited" breath. Thank you. You can read my extract, by all means!

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