Before I jump into edit updates, I want to call your attention to a couple of things. First, here’s a feature I wrote for Self-Publishing Review about Craig Lancaster’s short story collection (which I fucking loved). You should read it. And the best part? Craig’s giving the ebook away for free until September 30th. So get on that.
Right. TLM edits. They’ve begun. To date, Amelia is two full chapters ahead of me. I’ve spent the last week laboring over the prologue of the book which has led to some interesting discussion via email and Facebook about the purpose of prologues and their ideal length.
What I’ve learned is that there is a large majority of writers out there who think prologues should be as short as possible, that they’re just fancy names for first chapters, and some even think they should be done away with all together. Others don’t seem to have a problem with them. This is interesting to me because I had no idea the opinion on prologues was so polarized.
Personally, I have no issues with prologues. I’ve read long prologues and short prologues, and I’ve never questioned whether or not they even be there. Maybe that makes me a bad reader, but I like to give the author the opportunity to do his or her thing.
TLM’s prologue used to be a full chapter (the second, as a matter of fact), and when I asked for some feedback in middle of 2009, readers agreed that it made a better beginning to the book, so I move it. I knew a 5k word prologue wouldn’t fly with my editor, and I knew it would be first on the list of things to trim. I’ve worked on this for a week, cutting bits and sewing them back together to maintain the same flow. What used to be 5k words is now 2.3k, which may still seem too long for some people. I also have an alternate version, which is 1.9k words. The 400 word difference involves the way the prologues ends. One is a with a bang. The other is more anticlimactic. Both raise questions.
When it comes time to discuss this with my editor, I’m going to make a case for 2.3k word version. It says what I need it to say, does what it needs to do, and sets the stage for the rest of the plot. I think it will capture your attention. It’s a gamble I’m willing to make.
I’m resisting the urge to go into specifics about this prologue here, because doing so would mean spoiling plot details. Maybe when it comes closer to publication. By then I’ll know which version of the prologue will go into the book. After the book is released, I’ll probably post the original version in its entirety.
This week has eased me back into the groove of editing, and I’m looking forward to moving on to chapter one. That’s on tap for this weekend.
I think that covers it for now. Stay tuned!