For the Long Ridge Writer’s Group course I’m taking, Shape, Write and Sell Your Novel, I’m working on my second to last assignment, which is to revise my prologue and chapter one.
I’m not going to post the entire assignment, because it’s around 5,000 words. But I’m offering up the revised prologue. This is the 3rd revision the prologue has undergone, and it’s the 4th revision for chapter one. After I receive notes from my LRWG instructor, I will likely make one more revision and then call the prologue and chapter one finished. It’ll feel good to have a part of this book completely edited.
Of course there’s always more to be done to make any writing better. But at some point it has to be “finished.” Otherwise I’ll just keep editing this for the rest of my life. Feel free to let me know what you think; I’m always open to constructive criticism.
Download the Out of the Sea Prologue.
Earlier this year, prologues were the topic of conversation amidst one of my writing groups. I thought the topic particularly interesting because my book, Out of the Sea, begins with a prologue. I thought I would share with you my thoughts on prologues, developed both as a writer and a reader:
1. Prologues can take place at any time.
2. Prologues longer than ~1,000 words often seem excessive.
3. A successful prologue is one or two scenes, tops. Any more than that, and it’s giving away too much, too soon.
4. Prologues are designed to give your reader necessary background information, or to bait your reader into diving into the first chapter. If your prologue doesn’t accomplish either or both of these goals, it’s not yet finished.
5. Finally, ask others to read your prologue. Share it with as many people as you care to know their opinions and ask for honest feedback. Share it with a varied group. Ask them if anything seems unclear, too draggy, uninteresting, or if they don’t feel compelled to read more of the story. This will allow you to not only improve your prologue, but also to have a base of readers who will want to read your book.
A few weeks ago I posted my prologue up on my blog. Feel free to take a peek if you missed it the first time around. This prologue is the result of several rounds of drafts and critiques.
My goal was to finish rewriting not only my prologue, but Chapter One. Well, I made it through the prologue. A matter of visiting with friends I’ve not seen in some time–though well worth it–made it necessary for me to amend my goals for the first chapter with assigning a deadline of Tuesday. I don’t think these extra two days will much hurt my overall goal.
Nevertheless, I’m pleased with the prologue. I’ve taken a lot out and really focused on a single scene, as I believe the best prologues are just enough to set the stage. Too many scenes and it starts, to me at least, to feel like another chapter.
I’ve uploaded a pdf of my prologue as it now stands. Take a read!
Out of the Sea Prologue