1. para_noir

    para_noir New Member

    Apr 27, 2008
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    In the mirror

    Insane lot of questions!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by para_noir, Apr 29, 2008.

    Well, introduction first I suppose. I'm Kraven, and I've tried to write a book since I was about 7. Some how I never could get past chapter 1.

    Now. Questions:

    1) Is it true that most people ignore prologues? If so, why is that?

    2) Is a prologue really necessary?

    3) What if the prologue and chapter 1 are completely unrelated?

    4) Do authors write a summary of each chapter or do they make stuff up as they go?

    5) Is 4000 words too much for a chapter?

    6) Have any of you ever felt like you really loved your story and character but thought no one else would and so gave up writing?

    7) How do you manage to continue writing when something like that happens?

    8) I keep thinking, "What I put in so much time and effort into this book, and in the end its either rejected or no one reads it". How do you deal with that?

    Thats it for now I suppose, but I'll post some more later on. :D
  2. Hulk

    Hulk Banned

    Dec 5, 2007
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    Ok. Answers:

    1) People try to avoid writing prologues to start the story, to draw the reader in with the actual story instead of something which seems unrelated to the book at first.

    2) That depends upon you. If it's good and you think it'll draw the people into your book, then you should let it be, because your main objective is to hook people.

    3) That's what prologues always are.....lol. That prologue and Chapter 1 should be completely unrelated.

    4) Everyone has their own methods. I always make up stuff as I go; somebody else may write a detailed summary of each chapter.

    5) Nope. At 250 words per page, it's only sixteen pages, and novels now have chapters more than 40 pages.

    6) Yep. I've felt that way, but I've not given up writing.

    7) The most important point while writing is that you shouldn't think whether your novel will be accepted for publication or not; you should have fun writing it. Me, I've also gone through that phase where I used to write simply for publishing, but now I write simply because I love writing, nothing else. I've seen that my work usually turns out crap if I write keeping in mind that I want to publish it. So the basic point: you should write to have fun.

    8) Answer same as that of 7.
  3. KP Williams

    KP Williams Active Member

    Dec 30, 2007
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    My place
    I'll do my best.

    1. I assume you're talking about readers here. A reader would possibly skip the prologue just to get straight to the story, as prologues tend to be more expository than anything else. But since they're generally filled with vital background info, the reader might not understand what's going on in the story, so it's generally a bad idea. As for writers ignoring prologues... Sometimes they're just not needed.

    2. As Hulk said, it's entirely up to you. If you think it's needed, that you can't get the necessary background info across without a clumsy info dump, then by all means use a prologue; if you don't need to give much background, don't bother with it. Either way, it's still what you'd prefer to do.

    3. It's fine if prologues aren't related to the first chapter. In fact, they usually are unrelated. That's not to say they can't be, though. The first chapter could happen ten minutes after the prologue if you so wished.

    4. That's dependent on the author. Writers who write stories that are heavily story-driven may find it more useful to come up with outlines of their chapters just to make sure everything is in line, wheras a writer like myself, who writes story that are mostly character-driven, may not have to do so much planning. Just having a general idea of where you're going may be enough. But just like before, it doesn't have to be either way. Your choice.

    5. A chapter is however long you want it to be. I tend to write chapters easily five times as large as that, but I also do incredibly short chapters.

    6. I've certainly felt like it was all for nothing. Like no one would ever read what I wrote. But then I realized I write for myself and for those closest to me. If we enoy it, then it's all worthwhile. Who cares if anybody else likes it.

    7. If I get discouraged, I usually take a break from writing to indulge my other interests: drawing, music, gaming, reading, etc. After a week or maybe two, I'm usually back to my normal enthusiastic self.

    8. First of all, I would congratulate myself for even completing my first novel in the first place (I'm almost done with my first right now, but still). If it's rejected, I would appeal to other agents/publishers. If it keeps facing multiple rejections, I would take a close look at it and see if there's anything that needs to be changed. If nobody reads it, same as number 6. As for the negative thoughts themselves, I banish them from my mind. Negative thoughts have no place in my mind, and certainly not with this subject.
  4. Heather Louise

    Heather Louise Contributor Contributor

    Dec 10, 2006
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    Question 1,2 & 3.

    I do think that prolouges are overlooked somewhat, I know myself that I have skipped the odd prologuge or two in the past, for various reasons. I would suggest making your prologue your first chapter instead, bumping every chapter up one. It does not matter if they are unrealated, chapters do not have to be.

    Question 4

    I do not personally write anything, like a plan or summary or anything before I begin as I plan it out thourogly in my head, and have pages of various notes that I can work from if I get lost. That might be why I have never personally finished a peice before, I just think that if you try and follow a set chapter by chapter plan then it ends up being too set, without room for compromise and change. That is just my personal opinion though.

    Question 5

    There is not set length for your chapters, I have some of them a few thoasand words long, and others only a few hundred. Read it over, and if you personally think it is too long, break it up into two smaller ones. It is simple to do.

    Question 6 and 7.

    Nope, never done that I'm afraid. And when I do hit a problem that makes me doubt my writing, I do one of two things. I either let myself be convinced I am a terrible writer and no-one would want to read my stuff, or I push past it and just continue writing, using people's adivice and comments on this site as reassurance that I am not pathetic and learn how to make it better.

    Question 8

    The way I get over that is because I am not only writing to be published, but because I enjoy it too. If I finally finish a novel to find out no-one likes it enough to want it published, then yea, obviously I will be upset, but I will grow from it, thinking about what I can do differently next time, how to improve the current one and by being glad that I have at least finished a novel.

  5. para_noir

    para_noir New Member

    Apr 27, 2008
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    In the mirror
    Thanks alot for answering! That definitely cleared up alot of the problems/worries I have right now. Hopefully I have enough motivation to stick with what I'm writing right now till the end.

    Anyway. When I do have more questions I'll post. And if anyone else does, then its cool too! This thread could be like a Q n A thingy about writing. :)
  6. Mr Sci Fi

    Mr Sci Fi New Member

    Feb 28, 2008
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    Prologues are often info dumps that makes the reader feel like they are reading a history book than an actual story. No characters have been introduced yet, so the reader doesn't really care. The only thing that should matter to the story is the present story, not the backstory. Exposition should be carefully spread out across the course of the book. A reader should learn along with his characters.

    No, they've become a fantasy cliche and the industry is biased against them. A prologue is the most successful when you can change the caption "Prologue" to "Chapter 1."

    Then rename "Chapter 1" to "Chapter 2."

    Depends on the author. I personally don't plot. I'm more of a reactor. I will set a precipitating incident and I will watch how my characters handle it. Often, I'll find my story going in a direction I never anticipated solely because once I got to know my characters, I realized that many of my plot choices were out of character for them. I let my characters tell the story. I'm just putting it down into print.

    I've seen chapters span the length of 10,000 words and I've seen them as short as 100 words. Chapter length can, and should, vary.

    Yes, but my characters beg me to tell their story and help them out of their conflicts so I'm compelled to write for their sake.

    I sit at my keyboard and type.

    Ask yourself what your goal as a writer is: Tell a story, or seek recognition and fame. If you choose the later, you're in the wrong business. Make a YouTube video instead.
  7. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    ...probably... i do...

    ...because most of them are boring to the max, not at all necessary, and delay getting to the story, which is what the reader is there for...

    i'd say in most cases, no...

    ...that should be the case, actually... it's the main good reason for having a prologue... to set up something important to the plot that will be returned to later, not what follows immediately thereafter... if they are related, why is the prologue a prologue, and not just the first chapter?...

    different authors do different things... some do the former, some the latter, some both...

    way too much, imo... but chapters can be long, short, medium, whatever the story calls for... some writers like incredibly short ones, others go on forever... a good mix of short to medium is best, imo... main thing is, there should be a good reason for switching to the next chapter, such as a change in time or scene, or character pov...

    not me!...

    can't say, 'cause it doesn't...

    i make sure it's as good as i thought it was and then keep it for later and write another one... if it's not, i work it over till it is...
  8. Nodin

    Nodin New Member

    Apr 20, 2008
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    1) I personally do not know the percentages, but for years I used to ignore forewords in nonfiction books. In fiction I would always read the prologue.

    2) I personally like prologues in fiction that give a little background of the characters’.

    3) Surely there must be some relationship if it pertains to the same story. :) The novels I liked best opened the first chapter with characters and events that made sense relative to the prologue.

    4) Some authors write summaries, and some authors evolve the plot. Of the few novels I have written, most all of the work was made-up on the fly, but I would create a few summaries when I wanted to develop a specific scenario.

    5) Chapter size is often determined by the genre and topic. Probably the best method to determine preferred chapter size is to count the words in popular books of the same genre as yours.

    6) Many times. My computer has hundreds of manuscripts that I began and abandoned.

    7) I change topics. Since I have many interests, I can jump to a different genre when I temporarily bore with another. When I get thoroughly writer-blocked, I read books and articles by authors who hold opposing opinions as mine, and I am quickly back at the keyboard with new thoughts of how to express my own views. :)

    8) I primarily write for my own satisfaction. It’s like playing chess or solving other puzzles just for the fun of solving puzzles. For me, writing is like a puzzle of sequencing words ‘just right.’ If no one else is interested in the topic, at least I know that I solved the puzzle the best that I am able. Yes, I would like to become a best-seller, and I have had a book at #1 in a small genre, but I try not to place much weight in public acceptance. Hundreds of thousands of manuscripts are rejected by publishers each year, and if a person is too easily discouraged by rejection, then the person might ought to find a more rewarding hobby. :) FYI, my best selling book was actually quite poorly written, and only my wife cared to proof-read it. Weird things happen in the publishing business, so please don't be worried too much if some people aren't interested in your work.

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