20 May 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 320, one more Dragon and Fox Prologue Paragraphs Initial Scene
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape–a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
I’ll make a slight digression because I’m developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly. Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene. I’m writing about the initial scene of my newest novel, “Escape.” Escape is the working title. I’ll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel. I’m at the eighth chapter right now. That means I’ve written about 160 pages.
The entertainment (and excitement) should start with the first sentence and paragraph and grow to envelope the first scene. Let’s compare the excitement and entertainment I’m recommending with some of my published novels. As I grew as a writer, my awareness of the importance of the first paragraph grew. It’s one thing to be taught or realize and another to implement. Since I started this blog, I’ve recommended against prologues–I still do. When I was a younger writer, I placed prologues at the beginning of my science fiction novels. So let’s look at those prologues to see how they might hurt the novels. Next example, The End of Honor:
Dr. Freisen D. Haupenberg Just What Were the Accords? Interstellar copyright X785 (10,785) ATA (Ancient Terran Accounting) Guidebook to the Human Galactic Empire (4,000 to 7,785 ATA)
It is appropriate in the year we celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the end of the Human Galactic Empire that we start our study with an overview of the Noble Accords. The Noble Accords, the Rules of the Code, or more simply, the Code are all synonyms for the set of written laws that governed the genetic heritage of the Nobility of the Human Galactic Empire. As you know, the leadership of the Human Galactic Empire was developed through genetic manipulation. This was necessary to successfully colonize newly discovered planets; however, over time, these leaders took on the political and social aspect of feudal rulers. A hereditary ruling class overcame and replaced humankind’s most precious democratic ideal. The Empire was a stable and reasonably just system that ruled longer than any other human authority. This culture vibrantly colored almost 4,000 Terra standard years of human history.
The End of Honor is the first novel of the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. It is the first novel in the series and the last novel of the series I wrote. I wrote the novels in opposite order.
There isn’t must more that I can tell you about why not to use prologues. There is no action, no character development or introduction, no real or direct scene setting. Perhaps there is a bit of mystery and entertainment, but this is the reason I write historical and science fiction, instead of histories and technical papers–I want to entertain my readers.
I assure you, I don’t do prologues anymore. I’m not sure how I will be able to handle the Ghost Ship Chronicles when they are eventually published. They are not a set of series novels, but rather a set of five continuing novels. They can be read separately, but they form an overall story. I wrote introductions for each of them (after the first) to spin the readers up to the current plot. I’m not sure how I can fix this without leaving out the introduction or somehow incorporating the previous writing into the text.
So, about prologues and introductions or any other important writing ahead of the initial paragraph.