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  1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Prologue Help

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GuardianWynn, Apr 4, 2015.

    Ok I think this concept is called a prologue. The idea is I have a story concept about a character. To establish the normal as well as start the book I was thinking of using this other scene. I originally created this scene as a short story. I thought I could use it as an opening. I wonder if this is bad?

    Ok context.

    The scene I think is a prologue is about a girl named Jackie. It is about her going on a rampage at a random event.

    The book is about her getting called home and witnessing a murder that inspires her to stay home.

    Meaning the concepts of the original opening rampage become moot and pointless plot wise. The goal was establishing her as well as being fun. Rampage is fun. The worry is the story is kind of long. Like 7k. Is that too long for a concept like this?

    Movies and books do start like this right? I remember someone said Indiana Jones is a good example it starts with an unrelated action scene. Thoughts?
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    what if she goes on the rampage and then towards the end of the event gets called home, which allows her to witness the murder? Like, is there any reason why the two has to be separate and not just consecutive events? That way it could just be your Chapter 1.
     
  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I could do it that way. I was actually thinking about it. The thing is. Even if it is chapter 1. Is it mean to change direction after 7k?

    Example. She sort of has a crush on a character named Eric. Goes on a rampage for him. After she gets called home though. Eric is gone. He doesn't return in the book. She likely never sees him again. I figured that is a tease? Bad me?
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd be careful about bringing in characters you don't intend on using ever again right there in Chapter 1. In my WIP I got into a loooot of trouble for that because readers kept asking, "But what happened to so and so? I was interested in X's story!" So yes, I would advise against that Eric character. You want to make the set-up/rampage somehow relevant to the rest of the story. Is there no way you could bring in a different character who's at least a side character that returns for the main story? That would also be tidier, thus better structurally. Makes the story tighter.
     
  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I could just create a new beginning and not use the rampage. Eric isn't really developed. Heck he is married. There isn't like a realistic love between then. More the point is to show who Jackie it. Which is someone who goes on a rampage if you mess with people she likes. Which ties into the books main theme. Eric was a random guy that she had a crush on and someone just broke his arm. When she returns home. Someone kills her niece in front of her. Sort of a "She went psycho when that happened to Eric. What.... is she going to do now?"

    Does that make sense?
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Is there any reason why you can't bring in a different, existing character who features in the main plot for the rampage though? Can't it just be a different, more important character who broke their arm? Like Jackie's best friend? If the idea is simply to show how Jackie goes crazy over people she loves getting messed with, sounds to me like you could easily use any existing character without arbitarily creating a new one who never returns.

    Or, alternatively, is there any reason why Eric can't be part of the main plot? You could always develop him.
     
  7. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well yes and no. If it is the rampage and existing character would likely not need Jackie's help to do it. Which means I could write a new scene showing her go crazy. It just seemed unneeded if I had one already. Know what I mean?

    No not really. When the plot gets going it is going to be very killer crazy. He isn't a fighter. Best I could do is in a moment where she is defeated. Broken and giving up, her returning home. Eric's home town and maybe him cheering her up. Something like.

    "Damn Jackie. I still don't know what you did. I probably don't want too. I just can't believe that there is something you can't do." Uplifiting her and getting her to try again. Think that is enough?
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If there is no bearing on the plot or overall story, I'd cut it.
     
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  9. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Isn't establishing character important though?

    Using the Indana Jones reference. Doesn't the movie open on him doing some random side project that has no plot point. It is just cool and it shows you who he is. Right?
     
  10. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Well the thing about prologues is they usually inform the reader about things in the story that don't come until later on. Also they're used to explain how the world the story exists in works, so when the actual story starts people aren't just like: Why can that guy shoot fire from his hands?

    If you're not informing the reader it's better just not to use the prologue. I think what you want is a prequel.
     
  11. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    That's not really a prologue... who told you it was a prologue?
     
  12. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Someone. I forget. They said because it isn't about the main story that it is a prologue. In either case is switching concepts like that bad? Having this opening that is unrelated and then suddenly switch beat?
     
  13. theoriginalmonsterman
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    Yeah... not the smartest move unless the unrelated beginning comes back in later on with some important meaning.

    I wouldn't say Indiana Jones had a prologue. I would say that was more of an introduction if anything.
     
  14. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Indiana Jones introduction was stand alone wasn't it?
    So this being a stand alone introduction a bad thing?
     
  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not familiar enough with Indiana Jones to comment - however, I do know that what can work in movies does not always work in novels. You keep coming back to Indiana Jones, but that was a blockbuster, not a bestseller.

    While it is good to establish the character, you should preferably establish her in a context that is relevant to the main plot. To switch beats, as you call it, after chapter 1 throws the reader off. They've just invested a bit of time getting oriented around your novel, your setting and characters etc, they've only just started investing - and you throw them into chapter 2 with something completed unrelated to what they've just read? In other words, you're asking them to invest yet again, like they just did in Chapter 1. Plenty of people would be put off by that - I would be amongst them.

    Truth is, you should just axe it by the sounds of things. You're still asking questions. If you didn't have your doubts, you wouldn't have started this thread. And it seems deep down you know it's a bad idea. Go with your gut. I also see no reason why you can't establish Jackie in a different context that relates to the main plot - what happens right before she gets called home? Any reason you can't establish the character then instead, and on her way home?
     
  16. theoriginalmonsterman
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    Well it was introducing the main characters of the film, and gave you a sense of Jones personality. Which of his movies are we talking about though? Raiders of the Lost Ark? Temple of Doom?
     
  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you mean Raiders of the Lost Ark? Like, when Indy's running away from that boulder?

    I think you want to be careful using movies as a total parallel to a book. The situation in Raiders worked b/c it was edge-of-your-seat exciting, funny, had great music, an instantly charming and likeable hero, etc. You don't really have most of those tools to work with when you're writing a book. They're different mediums.

    In a book? Never say never, but 7K words that ONLY establish character? You could establish that same character trait with a 300 word conversation later on, really.

    Add another voice to those who are concerned about this opening.

    ETA: Wow, crossposted with not just one but TWO people with the same ideas!
     
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  18. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Mckk makes a good point here. I seriously don't know why we're using Indiana Jones as an example? XD
     
  19. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    You know what would be cool is a book suited with music on specific pages. Sort of like those Birthday Cards with short jingles that play when you open them. It would be cool when you're reading the main character someone you have epic battle music playing off in the background.

    Edit: Yeah I know I'm double posting at that this is completely off-topic XD
     
  20. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    You all make good points. Actually my gut thought it was a good idea but I am no master. I will easily take on more opinions.
    To put it in maybe the deepest context I can.
    I wrote this Eric scene as completely stand alone originally.
    The scene is meant to through you off. Jackie seems nice sweet normal then suddenly she beats the crap out of people that hurt Eric. Which is her craziness coming in. Like yeah she goes on a rampage, basically walks up the ladder of gang members until she is in a nice home beating the crap out of a boss. All because she was offended. The 7k is really all hers. How she does it. How unbothered she is by doing it. Eric going "Oh my gosh!" a few times. To tie it in, I thought about it ending with her getting called home. You get a home visit. It seems nice enough, then bam someone kills her niece, which is the main plot. Her larger rampage.

    To me thinking about it. I see some many decent points for this opening.
    - Fun
    - Establishes her character
    - Since the main plot is about essentially the same thing just on a grander scale it may give the audience something to expect.
    - and as MCkk gave me a nice idea. I could have her defeated and broken at some point. Then have her return to the town with Eric and where her home is(the call home was her families home) and Eric could remind her of who she is and inspire her to try again.

    The only fear is a long opening scene about a mission that has nothing to do with the main plot.
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    How does going on a rampage introduce the character? Does she go on rampages a lot? Is she unstable?

    Introducing needs to introduce, not just show a character in a random scene. What do we learn about her that is relevant to the story?

    That's much more important than calling it a prologue vs chapter one.
     
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  22. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it shows a lot of her character.

    First she likes Eric because he grows fruits and Vegi's and she loves though. It shows her as unstable, or killing people over said person and product. It shows that she is skilled. It shows how she conducts herself. In a sense it is sort of a common day for her.

    The rampage is establishing her normal before the event of the book.

    Isn't that important?
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    First, if you have to ask, it suggests you aren't sure. If you aren't sure will the readers be?
     
  24. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course I am not sure. I am an amateur writer. If I claim certainty on anything I hope you would call me out on being over confident. lol.

    At its core, why isn't even important. The concept I am thinking of employing is a soft opening in a scene about a character that starts, happens and ends before the big bad of the book shows his face. I can't seem to see what about that is so bad. I mean don't get me wrong. I am not boasting or claiming it good but reading over your comments I haven't seen why it is so bad.

    @Mckk Thanks, you did inspire a good though which I think is returning Eric for the minor role or uplifting a defeated Jackie. Which does add a layer of everything connecting.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    I'm confused. Do you mean that there are multiple scenes of her beating up A, and then beating up C, and then eventually she beats up Q, and then the real action of the novel starts?

    If so, I think that that would be too much, without a link to the main plot.
     

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