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The King without a Crown prologue


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#1 grace

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 08:08 PM

Here's the prologue I just wrote for my book. Let me know what initial thoughts you have!

 

Jo Masen

            Before I read the newspaper article, now clenched in my hand, I was only about 10% convinced my father was a murderer. Now, I’m closer to 25%.

            I storm out of my dorm building and flop down at the bus stop a block away from its doors, my skirt dipping into a puddle. I ignore the skirt, flattening the article on my lap and re-reading the part about the grey-tipped gloves again. Black, with the ends of the thumb and first two fingers grey. My father owns a pair of gloves exactly like that. Such a random design, I find myself thinking. I’ve never seen anyone wearing gloves that look like that, not even any gloves with the first fingertips a different color in that way.

            More frightening, those very gloves were sitting out on our kitchen table, the last time I was at home. In May. It is May, right? I’m not crazy? I check the date on the newspaper clipping. May 12, 2012. No, I’m not.       

            I glance down LaGuardia Place, impatient for the bus. The Twin Towers are visible, both of them peeking out at me from behind the bustle of Manhattan.

            My head begins to hurt.



#2 lnloft

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 09:07 PM

Here's the prologue I just wrote for my book. Let me know what initial thoughts you have!

 

Jo Masen

            Before I read the newspaper article, now clenched in my hand, I was only about 10% ten percent convinced my father was a murderer. Now, I’m closer to 25% twenty-five. These lines threw me for a loop, and I think that then dictated a bit of my interpretation for the rest of the section. And the reason was all about tense. The very first verb is "read", which without context I wasn't sure if I should take it as past or present tense. Then it's followed by "was", so I started assuming we were dealing past tense, only for the following sentence to go present tense. And understand, I'm not saying you did anything wrong with your tenses, because grammatically it works. If this were dropped in the middle of a paragraph, I probably wouldn't bat an eye. But because I didn't even know if I should read "read" as a word rhyming with "red" or "reed" because I didn't have context to start with, I just stumbled. It's such an odd thing that I personally never would have thought of in my own writing, either, but, yeah, I guess the lesson here is to not have your first verb be one that is of ambiguous tense.

            I storm out of my dorm building and flop down at the bus stop a block away from its doors, my skirt dipping into a puddle. I ignore the skirt, flattening the article on my lap and re-reading the part about the grey-tipped gloves again. Black, with the ends of the thumb and first two fingers grey. My father owns a pair of gloves exactly like that. Such a random design, I find myself thinking. I’ve never seen anyone wearing gloves that look like that, not even any gloves with the first fingertips a different color in that way. Literally the first thing I thought of was all the knit gloves that are made so you can use a touchscreen while wearing gloves. I own a red pair with the first three fingers black, and I'm pretty sure I've seen versions with the exact color scheme you describe. So these don't seem very distinctive to me.

            More frightening, those very gloves were sitting out on our kitchen table, the last time I was at home. In May. It is May, right? I’m not crazy? I check the date on the newspaper clipping. May 12, 2012. I'm a little confused here. Is she thinking "It is May, right" in context of last time she was home? Or is she thinking if it's May right now? In which case, thinking that she was last home in May when it is May seems very odd. But if she's checking the date based off the paper, then it definitely is May. Unless she's the paper is older and she's double checking that her father was killed in May? Point being, it's not quite working. No, I’m not.       

            I glance down LaGuardia Place, impatient for the bus. The Twin Towers are visible Hmm, we seem to be in some sort of alternate timeline, if the Twin Towers are still standing in 2012. Good way to establish that without being too heavy handed., both of them peeking out at me from behind the bustle of Manhattan.

            My head begins to hurt.

I wrote a lot, but that doesn't mean it's all bad. Basically there's those two areas that need to be tightened in the writing to make sure they're clear enough, and then the issue with the gloves, which just really stood out to me, because it feels like it's going to be a plot point but the gloves really don't feel distinct enough for me. Maybe you can argue that because it's an alternate timeline they didn't make those same gloves that I know, but that's still going to be a leap that most readers won't make. Hope this is helpful. Good luck.


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#3 David M

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 08:22 PM

Hello grace.

 

I assume you're not looking for a grammatical proofread/copy edit here, so I'll keep my thoughts relatively high level.

 

This is a good intro. Just review again for consistency in the use of tense - which gets a little blurred in areas. Love the neat May 2012/Twin Towers play. Clever, and not intrusive.

 

Strategy pointer: If you're as yet unpublished and want to seek an agent or publisher then I would have to advise you to think long and hard about using a prologue. There exists an irrational prejudice against prologues in the industry. I once conducted my own informal survey in a bookstore. In a sample of 50 published novels, 27 had prologues, 23 did not. I cannot explain the apparent prejudice, but I have a stack of emails from agents and publishers that tell me it is very real. Ultimately I removed my own prologue. I'd be interested to know if others share this experience.

 

Certainly, if the agent/publisher requests a sample of your MS - DON'T send them a prologue!

 

If you're an established author or you're planning to self-publish then of course you may prologue to your heart's content. Personally, I enjoy a (good) prologue.

 

Best of luck,

David

PS: I later re-inserted my prologue. Full steam ahead, and damn the torpedoes!


David Makinson

 

Author of Invincible, Volume 1 of the Tanner Archives

 

https://www.amazon.c...,aps,400&sr=8-1

 

Principal Editor, Sharpedge Editing 

https://sharpedit.weebly.com/

 

Email:

dmakinson.editor@gmail.com





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