1. SGTGerman
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    SGTGerman Member

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    The introduction....

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by SGTGerman, Jun 8, 2014.

    So I'm working on a new Star Wars era piece. However I am in two minds over how I set the scene. Is there anything wrong with having an "Introduction" chapter after the Prologue or is it better to explain it over the course of the story?

    Thanks for reading.

    SGT
     
  2. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    Generally, it's best to get on with the 'action' right away. Long sections setting the scene can be tedious (not always, of course).

    If you can find a way of setting the scene as the story progresses, that would probably be more effective.
     
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  3. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Sounds to me like you're going to hit readers with infodump. What concerns me is that you'e prologue might just be back ground information. If that's all it's doing is setting up the world or anything like that, you'd be better served to exclude it. Along a similar vein, you usually want your opening scene to establish who, what, and where so that readers are interested in the why. By which I mean, readers a generally more interested in meeting the protagonist in action--presumably just before things go wrong-- than learning about the world they are in. World building can come throughout the story.

    The only setting you should really be interested in, imo, is that which focuses into a point in time for a scene to start. Setting the stage is somewhat less important. That is not to say there is anything wrong with a slower build up. But if you're going for a slower start, you might be better served to focus on the concrete-- that is things that are relevant to he scene that is about to occur, not the entire world. Ya feels? :cool:
     
  4. SGTGerman
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    SGTGerman Member

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    Well here's the other thing. I'm obviously thinking ahead here but should I end up writing more than one, I want them to have this theme;

    Prologue - A quick glimpse of how and what the main plot involves.

    Chapter One - The main characters in the middle/end of previous job/activity.

    Chapter Two - Wherever the story takes me.

    Apologies if this is standard, still new to this.


    When you say "infodump" straight away it sounds boring, formal and not imaginative. This is what I don't want, which is why it isn't listed in "the theme" as this is done by the Prologue. However because the setting is non canon, settings and events are made up to fit my version, would a short piece be ideal to put the reader on the right page before reading on?
     
  5. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    My suggestion would be to read other, published, Star Wars books to see how they've done done it. I mean, if that's what others do, then why not. But I, personally, wouldn't read the prologue based on this description. :p no offense to you.
     
  6. SGTGerman
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    SGTGerman Member

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    Maybe I didn't explain it well enough. For example, I want one of them to be a horror so the prologue for that would be the scientists creating the virus which suddenly gets out of hand etc. Or it could be the last moments of one the survivors. Then we go straight into the main characters. Has this persuaded you?

    So far I've read the Star Wars Republic Commando novels. Outstanding. I know there are a lot more to read however I liked how Karen T switched from different characters and theatres. It's something I'd like to use to widen the story.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It doesn't persuade me. :) But I'm in the anti-prologue contingent; the best answer would probably come from someone who thinks that prologues are fairly frequently OK.

    The only prologue that has "worked" for me in the last several years was the one for In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. The prologue was the main character's departure from her secular life into a convent; the main novel started a few years later, after she'd been in the convent for a while.

    But even then, I saw no reason for the prologue to be called a prologue--it was part of the main body of the story, not backstory, not explanation. I would have just called it Chapter One.

    Edited to add: To apply the above to your example, a scene with the scientist that created the virus, or some character dying from it, is background unless that scientist, that actual character, will be driving the story. If the real story is about Jim the carpenter and volunteer fireman and how he deals with the death of his entire family from the virus and how he then goes on to cure the virus, then I might accept a prologue that shows Jim with his family, or Jim meeting his wife, or Jim when he caught scarlet fever when he was six, or something else that's very important about Jim and about how the rest of the story will affect Jim. But the virus isn't a character, so I don't really care about the life history of the virus.

    Edited again to add: For example, the "prologue" of the movie Twister doesn't show some random family getting killed by a tornado as a way of offering backstory about tornadoes. It shows a critical moment in the life story of one of the two main characters in the movie.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
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  8. SGTGerman
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    SGTGerman Member

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    Thanks for your input. I see where you are coming from, for me calling it "Prologue" just helps make it stand out more. Fair enough it is the first think you come across... It also acts like the writing's demo i.e. its short, sharp but should still convince you to read the rest.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It does, and that's why using it for backstory is dangerous, because backstory tends to be (1) boring and (2) not about the main character. So when you try to hook the reader with a backstory prologue, you're first working with a pretty blunt hook, and then you have to un-hook them and try to re-hook them with the main story. You're making the job harder, and making yourself do it twice.
     
  10. SGTGerman
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    SGTGerman Member

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    Well, what do you reckon to this - this is my first piece I posted on here

    http://www.writingforums.org/threads/sgtgerman-presents-esp-commando-gladiators.59467/

    It still needs work, the comments show that but the idea once its finished... I know you are anti prologues however in way it makes you a good person to ask.

    Edit: Have only just seen your added part. I definitely agree. Any prologue I write will/is meant to do what you have just described. You can't tell yet but the post I have asked you to look at does do that.
     
  11. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I think @ChickenFreak made the best point, the most clearly (you beat me again, you :wtf:). The way I see it, the prologue should be integrally relevant but not essential to understanding the story. It should add context and impact just as a Chapter one would, even if it's offset by a few years. I don't personally find a problem with the prologue being about a character other than the MC, but I agree that it should feature relevant, mayhaps even prominent characters.

    I think you could get away with conveying everything without a prologue, but have no opposition to you writing one. You may be better off just writing the darn thing. You can decide in revision if you still need it, or how you want to use it. I can't say much more unless I were to see it. Hope I could help some. :)
     
  12. SGTGerman
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    SGTGerman Member

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    Yeah I think the point has been well made. Thanks for the advice lads.
     

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