By: Sherry Thomas
I like directions. I am, moreover, very good at following directions. Lately, however, I find myself balking at one particular set of directions: writing rules. Now I’m the last person to suggest that everything about writing is subjective and therefore any rule should be kicked in the gonads before it even walks through the door. But I have become quite impatient with how some of those general guidelines are presented: as implacable absolutes.
Offending rule #1: Don’t start a book with a prologue
I used to shrug at that, even when I was a rank beginner. Surely, I thought, since there are so many good and successful books that start with prologues, that fallacy would die a natural death before long. Sadly, I was wrong. I last came across someone asking serious questions about whether a prologue was verboten only a month ago.
A quick trip to my own bookshelves returns with some very prominent titles that start very prominently with prologues. Lord of the Rings, for example. The
Da Vinci Code, yes. Switching genres slightly, The
Secret History by Donna Tartt also features a prologue. Strictly
speaking, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone does not have
a prologue. But if your chapter 2 starts with “Nearly ten years had passed
since the Dursleys had woken up to find their nephew on the front step,” I’d
say your chapter 1 is a prologue in everything but name.
Closer to home, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase opens unabashedly with a prologue—and that book has sat at the top of the All About Romances Top 100 Romances poll for at least a decade. And Born in Ice, the first Nora Roberts book I ever picked up? You guessed it, prologue!
Don’t write boring prologues, if you must have rules about prologues. But let’s stop
badmouthing prologues in general. If a book opens well, who cares
whether it is a chapter 1 or a prologue?
Offending rule #2: Stay away from adverbs
. . .
Read the full article HERE!
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
- Break All the Rules | Writers In The Storm http://ow.ly/GxJp8
- Fiction University: The Indie Author’s Review Dilemma http://ow.ly/GyrjU
- The 9 Must-Haves for a High-Performing Book Launch Page | Your Writer Platform http://ow.ly/Gyru7
- Mirror, Mirror – the role of supporting characters - Writers Write http://ow.ly/Gysad
Ideas on How to
DoClever Content Marketing http://ow.ly/Gyy6d
- New Facebook Terms: What Marketers Need to Know | Social Media Examiner http://ow.ly/GyAK5
KCrossWriting – The Making of a Novel: Behind the Scenes with Antebellum Awakening http://ow.ly/GyBZn
- As The KU Exodus Grows, How Much Longer Before Amazon Puts All KDP Titles In Kindle Unlimited? http://ow.ly/GyLeZ
|Walter Cronkite with the 303 Bomber Group over Germany,
He also parachuted into Holland with the 101st Airborne
P.S. I didn't get to read much yesterday because I was
mindmapping! The plot for The Emerald Brooch is coming together. I found a way to work Walter Conkrite into the story. He was the anchorman for the CBS Evening News for nineteen years and recognized as the most trusted person in America.
From the time I was twelve until he retired when I was thirty-one, I watched his broadcast every evening. He was my window to the world - President Kennedy's assassination, the moon landing, the Vietnam war, Watergate - he reported on all those stories and more with his authoritative voice and lived-in face. Yes, he was the most trusted man in America. And for those who watched his program, you'll remember he always ended the broadcast with, "And that's the way it is..."
If you've read THE SAPPHIRE BROOCH you'll know how excited Jack will be to experience World War II at Cronkite's side. If I wasn't such a linear writer, I would jump ahead and write the scenes, but I will have to wait until I get there. In the meantime, I'll write lots of notes on my