Monday, 15 June 2009

An Unnecessary Necessity.

I have just started on the fourth and - hopefully - final draft of my novel: Bathory. I want to think that I will be in a position to send it forth into the big bad world sometime at the beginning of 2010 (if time, work and life will allow); I will confess to being just a tad scared at the prospect. After all, it's my baby, and I've nursed it, and humoured it, for the last two years.

But I do have a bit of a dilemma. And this is it.....

I have written a prologue which takes the reader back into the dark barbaric years of the 16th century. I love this piece of writing. It is full of smoky gothic atmosphere. It sets the scene for the rest of the book which takes place in the here and now; the twenty-first century. But? Is it really necessary? The answer is no. Does the story make sense without it? The answer is yes, perfect sense.

Mmmmm.....

I know there are a lot of publishers out there who dislike The Prologue. Who think it is a waste of space; why not just start at Chapter One and have done with it?
I obviously want to give my book every sporting chance to appeal. So do I leave off the prologue?

On the other hand, doffing my writer's hat and donning my reader's hat, I love prologues (and epilogues come to that).

So what do I do?

I know you can't please all of the people all of the time, but I don't want to displease a few of the people a little of the time. Especially when those people may hold my future life as a writer in their ink-stained hands.

So, you can see the dilemma I'm in.

Do you like to read a novel with a prologue, or do you just want to jump, feet first, into the story?

8 comments:

Ello said...

I love prologues, but it might hamper you when querying. What you might want to do is save it. You might find that when you get a book deal, they will want the prologue then!

onipar... said...

Hey, Akasha. Long time no read. :-)

I have a prologue in my novel, but it is less than a page long, so I never bothered to consider the novel without it.

However, during editing, I *did* delete entire chapters (one or two that I absolutely *loved*) for the greater good of the novel.

I guess the question is this: does the prologue add anything to the novel, and does it help to push the action forward?

Anyway, glad to see you're still blogging. I just finally posted after a long year absence.

Akasha Savage said...

ello - good idea...that was sort of what I was thinking.

onipar - welcome back! My prologue is quite a few pages...I'm just going to have to make a decision at some stage!

Leigh Russell said...

Personally - and this is just an individual opinion, there's no right or wrong answer - I like to jump straight into the story. But then I do write crime fiction. With my writing, it's all about the story, and not about the writing.

If you're submitting your MS because you want to be published, I'd probably advise you to submit it without the prologue initially. Once you have a publisher interested, then you could discuss the prologue. But again, that's just a personal view.

Good luck with it and well done on having nearly finished the MS!

Alis said...

Does it foreshadow what's going to happen later? Does it leave the reader thinking that they can't wait to get back to the sixteenth century and find out what all that was about? If so, it probably deserves its place. If not, not.
Good luck with draft 4 Akasha!

Rick said...

Hello Akasha! I'm back from sabbatical and glad to read your blog again. On the issue of prologues- maybe just use it as material for another book? That's what my publisher always tells me.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Akasha - I hope you're draft is coming along well. I sympathise. Although I'm really happy Cut Short is now out there on sale (available NOW on amazon - shameless plug) (and a good review would be great too - hint) BUT I'm working on Book 2 and it's hard, isn't it, and VERY scary. All I can suggest is: BE BRAVE! Send the MS out. I'm sure someone will love it. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Akasha Savage said...

Rick - welcome back...I was beginning to wonder where you'd gone! :)

Alis - The prologue does sort of set the scene before the story leaps forward a few hundred years in time...and I like it!! :)