Sunday, March 13, 2011

Prologue vs. Chapter 1, Take 2

As promised, the picture of the French toast I made once which inspired the description used in my Chapter 1 breakfast scene. I had made cinnamon swirl bread, thought I can't recall why I had made it, and I had three loaves from the one recipe. My wife and I decided to use the bread as the base for French toast. That is maple syrup dipping sauce in the center bowl there.

I decided to go with the 312 pages of Chapter 1 for yesterday's contest, but I did consider going with the Prologue since it was such a short piece. I thought it might be interesting to see them side by side anyway, even though I went with Chapter 1, so here is the 312 from the Prologue, just for comparison. I figure if I plan on being a writer, I have to put my work out there to be seen (that is the point, anyway) so I might as well get some out now.

        Melalain watched in silence as her apprentice toiled away at his work. He was still young—How old had he said? Twelve years? She had lived too long to be aware of age anymore—but quite capable. His current project was not something a first-year apprentice could usually handle, but he was deft at the art of carnomancy. She had little doubt that he could complete the process, and it wasn’t a particularly dangerous assignment. There was only a small chance that it could be fatal, after all.

        She monitored his progress from the observation balcony that circled the workshop. His hands danced through the ritual patterns and his voice intoned the ancient words to summon forth the power necessary to work this magic. He was doing very well so far, and a smile touched the witch’s face.

        He was a curiosity, this new apprentice. Lorian Mickaya, the child of a Djinn and a dryad. Any Djinn-child would make a rare and worthy apprentice, but the combination of the bloodlines made him unique, and he was living up to her expectations. Not an easy feat.

        He had come to her seeking protection as well as training. His father, killed just days before his petition, had been a powerful and influential man—Djinns always were. Lorian was afraid the murderer would be after him next and rightly so; he was quite perceptive for one so young. She had agreed to take him in, unconcerned by any danger his presence might bring. She was the Crimson Witch; there was little that could harm her and nothing that she feared.

        He drew the ceremonial knife across his chest, a single gash in the flesh above the heart, drawn deeply. He held the knife over the bubbling cauldron so that the blood could drip into the mixture. He hadn’t even winced from the pain.

        Some day Lorian would complete....

So yeah, it's not so much that there is a great deal of action, but it is a mix of an action with some back story. It's not necessary to have all of these details, but it does come up. What Lorian is doing here is important in the book, and it is described in the book...but reading it here will make it make a little more sense. His back story (his father being a Djinn, his mother being a dryad, his father being murdered and him coming to be taught by Melalain), all very important, all touched on in the novel.

One issue I have with using the prologue is that the book comes mostly from Shae's point of view, not Melalain's (though Mel does have her sections). I feel like if I am truly giving a sample of my work, then the better sample is Shae's voice, because that is what the reader will have through 90% of the novel.

So yeah, that's Take 2 for this discussion, and probably the last I'll mention it for a while. I think I might touch on Points of View in some post next week. I find it a fascinating topic for me to ramble on about.

would like to point out that the French toast in the picture was as good as it looks. Better, even, if you don't think it looks good there.


Juliana L. Brandt said...

That's such a great idea for french toast. I just might have to try that this weekend.

I am really interested in how these characters and this story combines with Shae's. You have a very distinct voice- I can tell you wrote both this and the last 312 words. (And I promise, I'm not just saying that because they're both obviously on your blog).

Heather Hellmann said...

I enjoyed reading the excerpt. Also, that french toast looks so yummy :)

Gabriela Lessa said...

This is a great prologue. I think you just need to take a little of the backstory from it. If you do that, the prologue would fit nicely and you could use it as part of your pages when submitting to an agent.... You have a short introduction of Lorian, then you're brought into Shea's world and wait for them to meet. That's really something. Use your prologue as your first few pages on submissions. But polish it first. Focus more on the scene at the moment and less on the backstory. Leave only what's essential.

This sounds like a wonderful novel! I would love to read it! Well done!