Friday, March 11, 2011

Sample pages: Prologue or Chapter 1?

Blog post number 2!  How many do I need before I count as an official blogger?  I guess if I stay consistent through to June, I can call myself that.  If I want to.  Do I want to?

Anyway, on to the point of this rambling. When sending sample pages along with a query (some agents request "the first X pages" and the X seems to be 5 or 10), do I send the very first pages (i.e., the Prologue) or the beginning of the story (which I think of as Chapter 1)?

I'm curious about this because I have different opinions about my Prologue and my Chapter 1.  I think both are really good--not trying to be arrogant, here, I'm just pointing out I'm not sending something I think is less than good--but they have different points.

The Prologue has a faster pace and reveals some of the history of the important characters, but it isn't told from the perspective of the main character from whom most of the narrative is seen. The book can be read without the Prologue, and it will make complete sense and be a whole story.  Some parts of it will make more sense and be a bit clearer, however, if the Prologue is read.

Chapter 1 has a slower pace as the main character is developed (not overly) and her voice is shown.  She has a bit of slower build up to show where she is coming from before the action/twist starts later in the chapter.  I have reworked this section over and over to keep it from being too slow.  I can point out all the reasons I think the info is important and in the best pace/arrangement; of course, I'm not there with readers to point that out while they are reading, so it is kind of a moot point (or a moo a cow's opinion: it doesn't matter).

So that leaves me with the question, which is the best to send: the Prologue or Chapter 1?  I can't help but think Chapter 1, since that is the true meat of the story.

And I do like my beginning.  I just worry that it might not have the suck-you-in it needs for an agent to ask for more pages. Guess I'll find out if I actually get asked for pages, huh?  Trial by fire.

is going to get burned.


Gabriela Lessa said...

Okay, you quoted Joey Tribbiani, so it has to be good! lol

Now seriously, I have a prologue too, and I've seen many agents be against those. Especially when they're a way to tell backstory. So you might want to be a little careful with that. How long is yours? Is it long enough to take up the 5-10 pages? I usually post mine when posting the first few pages, just because it's so short, it's more of a teaser than a prologue. I've seen agents have opinions on both sides though, so you might want to check each agent's blog to make sure before querying. If your prologue is long, you might want to take a bit of the action from it and move it to the first chapter. That chapter shouldn't be slow-paced, prologue or no prologue. Good luck with querying!

Jolene Perry said...

MOO POINT! We bring that up in our house ALL THE TIME.

Jolene Perry said...

Oh - most frown on your sending the prologue. UNLESS they're asking for three pages and your prologue is three kick-ass pages.

Otherwise, send the text - that's what I keep coming across.

Tanya Reimer said...

Have fun, I just started querying too. So many rules, and for every rule, you will find the opposite someplace else.

Sometimes I send the prologue, (but I mark it as such) sometimes I don't. For one book I have an opening letter that I don't always send, depends on the agent. Basically, they want to see my writing, right? So I tend to stick with the first chapter, they'll read the prolouge if they want to see more.
It's your call, and nothing you do is right or wrong in this world, it just is.

Wes said...

Thanks for the comments!

Yup, a Joey quote, and one of my favorites from the series because it actually has a certain logic to it.

No right or wrong...just follow the guidelines and cross your fingers. That does seem the way of it.

My Prologue is just over 3 pages, so I guess it would make a good send if an agent wanted something really short.