1. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Prologue or Chapter 1 - the missing section.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ChaosReigns, Aug 4, 2014.

    *i hope this is in the right section*

    with my main series that i am working on currently, i have had a few people (both writers and non writers) read it and always ask me the same 2 questions over the very beginning of the book

    1) whose armour is it in the pile
    2) what attacked the people (if attacked at all)

    now for some perspective
    the novel as it stands currently opens with the human MC standing by a river, staring at a pile of armour wondering where it had come from. shortly after we have the dwarf MC appear and take a look round, wondering what this actually is and what has happened.

    now i have the section written telling the reader what happened, plus a couple more things that are relevant for later in that novel and for a section in the second novel, would i need to title this as a prologue, as it doesnt involve the main characters, or as the first chapter and introduce the characters in the second chapters?

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can't you bring your MC into the data dump? That way you won't be faced with this problem.
     
  3. JamesBrown
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    JamesBrown Active Member

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    I'd say it was quite a good thing that readers are asking questions because that means they're interested in the story. You should just reveal what actually happened later on, how later on depends on how important it is and maybe just reveal when the MC himself discovers the reason

    You should leave a mystery open as long as possible, as that's half the enjoyment of reading, trying to anticipate what will happen and why something that has happened did happen.
     
  4. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    @JamesBrown has a good point. If your reader's questions are answered at some point in the story then you don't necessarily have to put that information into a prologue.

    Or, you could use a prologue to set the scene and tell (or show) the reader only half the reason for why the armour is there. What I mean is, use the prologue to ascertain that the armour is there but not why it is there. So the scene is set, the armour is there. The reader can then find out, along with the MC, why it's there later on in the story.

    Or, if the armour is there, let's say, because of a battle that happened a long time ago, use the prologue or first chapter to describe the battle as a flashback.

    Prologues can be used for a number of different reasons, I personally like prologues so long as there's some point to the story. Some writers use prologues to inform the reader of a technical aspect of the story or, the fact behind the fiction and some readers will happily miss the prologue out completely and will only go back to it when they've finished the book and are still left with a question. It's completely up to you which way you do it. Try it a couple of different ways and ask your test readers which works best for them.

    Good Luck x
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are they asking these questions in the sense that they feel that you've cheated them of this information, or in the sense that this is something that interests them and would make them keep reading? The first is bad; the second is good.

    I also find myself wondering about two separate characters looking and being puzzled. Can you narrow it to one? If you must have both characters, can you have the two come together?

    One instance of, "Hey, what happened here?" could lead to "Oh, that's what happened!" or "Oh, well, better have dinner and think about this mystery," or "Eep, we're being attacked by rabid bunnies!"

    But two instances of "Hey, what happened here?" increases the pressure for the "Oh, that's what happened!" scene to come along promptly.
     
  6. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    they all do say they would like to see where this heads (meaning they would like to read more, but until ive finished writing the whole lot, im not showing much of it)

    i don't actually state what happens later on in the novel, but i do reveal a new creature in the first book, and in the second we find out that a particular character was slowly working on a plan, but i never state the details of the plan, only the end result.

    at the beginning of the book the human MC is only a citizen of the country, and calls in the dwarf, because the dwarf has a little more authority being the leader of his race. the dwarf asks about the pile, with an "i don't know, i just found it" (to paraphrase) answer. the reason why i don't take it further in the actual novel, is that there were more pressing matters for the pair in the novel (namely a war against the dwarfs brother) which pushed it out of their minds.

    i hope this helps.
     
  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Sounds really interesting (and fantasy fiction is something I've never been able to get into in the past.) The one thing I would say though, is be careful not to leave any untied endings. Many readers like to come to the end of the book (or the end of the series) with most if not all, the ends tied up. Leaving something lingering in your reader's mind is not always a good thing, unless there is enough pointers through the whole story for the reader to work it out for themselves.



    Good luck x
     
  8. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    this is the only loose end at the moment i haven't got tied up, or on its way to being tied up (i have a re-occurrence of locusts that i have yet to tie up, which will be in the third book) which is why i ask about this, because i know what happens, but just want some advice on what would be the best way of doing this, as what you said is very true! :)
     
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  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I'm sure you will get your answer eventually. So many answers come to us when we least expect it and you sound like you are giving this a lot of thought which is always good.

    xx
     

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