The “Pro” in Prologue

Welcome to WordPress.com! I mean, welcome to my blog!   Can you imagine how many thousands of people have started their own blogs in the same way?  Yeah, the thought sickens me.  But what else can you do?  It’s the trap that every person falls into: writing the first words.  What do you say?  How do you make yourself effective?  What’s the hook?  I tend to think of this entry as the prologue.  You haven’t gotten to the main story yet, but you’ll be introduced to a few elements that will give you a feel for the narrative.  This is the set up.

Don’t worry: there won’t be any quizzes along the way.  I don’t think.

The most effective prologues I have read have been short.  Fall On Your Knees by Anne Marie MacDonald contains one of my favourite prologues of all time.  It starts with the following line:

“They’re all dead now.”

C’mon!  How is that not enticing?  Don’t you want to know how they died?  Don’t you want to know who “they” are?  Don’t you feel as though you’re about to go on a dark journey?

It worked for me.

Other books (or television shows, or movies) feature prologues that tend to go on for arduously long periods of time.  Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan includes a prologue that is over 100 pages long and moves to seven different points of view.  It is the equivalent to three-four chapters in the book proper.  Why do such a thing?  Perhaps because the author felt as though there was no proper place to insert the events in the timeline of the book?  Whatever the reason, such circumstances make for exhausting reads, especially if you’re the type of reader (i.e. me) that prefers to read until the close of a chapter.

Another example is on the television show Alias, where the prologue of an episode (often referred to as the pre-credit teaser) can run for a substantial amount of time.  When the opening credits finally roll 15 minutes later, you’re suddenly jarred out of the experience. “Oh yeah. I was watching this, wasn’t I?”

So in the interest of not trying to bludgeon you with one million things to think about, or testing your attentiveness, I’ll keep this prologue short.  In fact, there’s only one reason I wanted to write it in the first place:

I’m going to go pro.

That’s it; that’s the theme.  I’m not a professional writer–at least, not yet.  But I will be.

And that’s all the set up I need.

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