Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prologues assasinate Wookie Witers

So, it all began.
There was a forest.
And a young boy — in said forest — who didn’t know who he was.
Then an old man with a tangled, silvery beard, came up to him with a somber smile.
The boy didn’t know that a smile was meant as a greeting, but considered it evil.
He leapt to try to kill the old man, but failed pathetically.

Then one day a horrible storm washed through the forest, and as the old man was fighting the world’s strongest bear, he died when a tree struck by lightning flattened him.

The boy reverted back to his original, evil programming.

And thus begins our story.

Ten years later.

Billy, as he named himself, met a young woman, and throughout their escapades, he divulged his secret past to her. Thus, he repeated what had happened in his past to the girl, even though he was already there. He fell asleep and had become very frustrated by stating to the girl what had happened.

Right. Yeah. No.
Please, don’t tell me you liked that snippet. It was a prologue. It was written in forty-five seconds and I hope it shows you how muddled a prologue can be. Surely, most young orphaned boys aren’t evil — unless they’re (SPOILER ALERT) Tom Riddle.

The point was most stories don’t need a prologue, or perhaps, don’t need one explicitly. Usually you can get away with saying things in exposition, or in a character’s memory as he/she recalls things or dreams about them.

The prologue is supposed to give the reader information and insight into the story that they couldn’t otherwise get from the main story. Even J.K. Rowling in all of her complicated plot, didn’t have an explicit prologue. Chapter One was just that, a chapter 10 years earlier than Chapter Two. Get over it. It worked very well and it didn’t say “Prologue”, or “Ten Years Prior”, or “If you don’t read I will kill you.”

Tell your story. Okay, “show”, but you know what I meant, you take-everything-literally you. If you want an early chapter, then do it, but don’t fall into the ten-piece epic ten-year-old-boys-and-girls fall into as their first piece/pieces.

The prologue becomes a boilerplate. It’s just not worth it — usually. So, focus on the story first, get some opinions, and then see what you’ve got to do. Don’t be that a-hole Wookie Witer. Make your own path. Don’t repeat yourself if you don’t have to.

1 comment:

  1. But A-hole Wookie Witer is so much fun to say! I might just start calling everyone that.


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