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Question on Prologues and Presentation


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#1 Gruffbane

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 01:25 PM

I call it a Preface, and it's only 1 page, but it probably carries the same stigma as a Prologue.

 

My problem is that I have several POVs and the novel could start with any of them because nothing's given away about the others in the first chapter, they don't start interconnecting until the 3rd and 4th chapters, and some of them don't meet until the end, kind of like The Bridge of San Louis Rey.

 

So I have three different versions of the Preface depending on what POV I start the novel with.

 

How do I decide which is the best chapter to start with for an agent the next time one asks for a full?

 

The one that's in the ever popular 3rd person close with all the pretty prose, the 3rd person omni that starts with action and ends with a cliff-hanger, or the 1st person with a unique voice and the best Question-That-Needs-To-Be-Answered?

 

I've only been asked for 1 full - it was from a top 5 fantasy/ sci fi agent but then the first reader who requested it took an indefinite leave due to illness and it's been in their que for 9 months since then...but I hope my queries are getting better.

 

...and that my MS didn't cause his sudden illness!



#2 daniL

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 02:18 PM

Preface often implies its not a part of the story, a Message From the Author, so it might have an even higher stigma

 

Beyond that, I'd be concerned about submitting if you don't know where chapters are gonna go in order. The order for the chapters, even if not immediately evident to the reader, should be apparent to you. If they aren't, then I'd go back and look at the structure of your story- because if you don't know/it doesn't matter, the reader will eventually realize that and stop reading, even if its only for the first few chapters.



#3 Gruffbane

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 02:52 PM

It's really not that. It's been through many beta readers and the excerpts have won contests.

I know you don't know me from Adam, but it really, really doesn't matter which chapter they read first.

 

Have you read The Bridge of San Louis Rey? Do you think it lacks structure even though it's assigned reading in college? The four stories in "Bridge" have nothing to do with each other at all until the climax. It doesn't matter at all which story comes first, you just want to put your best foot forward.

 

The order in which the time slips in Cloud Atlas occur in the movie is different from the book, but both structures work just fine.

 

The best comparative example would be this-

 

I would not have put down Game of Thrones because it started with a Prologue and then Ned Stark even if I had read the novella comprised of Daenarys chapters that won him the Hugo first. In Game of Thrones Daenarys does not start until chapter 7 or 8, has few ties to the rest of the story in book 1, but is also a stand-alone story by itself. 

 

Tyrion's story in Game of Thrones is also a stand-alone that he submitted to places.

 

The other seven POVs in the book can't work without each other - only Tyrion and Daenarys can stand alone.

 

If he had put Daenerys before Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, I don't believe it would have affected the overall tale enough to warrant a rejection. Sure, his editor may have switched it back around, but I don't think she would have rejected him.

And without the prologue, Game of Thrones would stand on it's own, but it really helps to let you know why all these disparate characters are going to eventually come together and it is a really cool piece of writing that works to draw people in.

 

For an answer, I was really looking more for a place where you could post three chapters and see which one people like best....or maybe something like "Never let them know you're going to be using 3rd person cinematic until they are hooked, it's an instant rejection!"

 

Before you tell me that you can't use 3rd person and 1st person in the same novel if it's your first novel, please know that though Pat Rothfuss did so he won a Nebula for his debut book.






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