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Secrets And Words (Prologue of "Under Pressure" - 266w)

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Old 10-30-2008, 09:23 AM
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Icon5 Secrets And Words (Prologue of "Under Pressure" - 266w)


This is a prologue to my novel. It's completely first draft, I just finished it now. Now I am putting it here in it's full form, only 266 words, to see what is wrong, right or difficult to understand about it.

Oh, and this prologue is completely necessary to the story, I just need to work on it a bit.

Thanks.

Secrets and words are what writers build their fiction out of. It’s what ultimately drives us all – those two things. Used correctly, they can be the most seductive and passionate thing to the human soul – but used incorrectly, they can be the Kiss of Death.

Imagine a man of only seventeen, hardly more than a child – he killed his father one day in April ‘87 and cast the memory of it into the recesses beyond the glass of his sanity. For twenty years he carried on without knowing the truth, until he returned home. As he did, a crack – small, but just big enough to allow the blue to pour through – began running up the glass from the bottom up.

And he began going crazy, sure he did. Because its blue behind the glass, and no man can ever see that brilliant color and hold his sanity. No man – hear me – can ever go beyond that glass and gaze into the blue light of secrets and hope, Oh Dear God, to ever come out as he was before.

But this one man might have been the exception to that; sure, seems rational enough to think of the glass as something held firm by rules – but it isn’t so. This man went through the glass, gazed upon what was there and returned nearly unharmed.

One could call it destiny, or just plain luck, but the truth will always remain the same – something led him through the glass and guided him back. It might have been Kismet.

The right word can stir an emotion, as you might know.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:14 AM
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I like it, Id love to read future chapters if this is anything to go by.

I couldnt find anything really wrong with this, the only things i would do is take out the "In april '87" and "as you might know" i dont think you really need them, but thats just my opinion
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Old 10-31-2008, 04:30 AM
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Secrets and words are what writers build their fiction out of [on]. It’s [They are; they refers to secret and lies, so you need a plural pronoun.] what ultimately drives [change to match plural noun] us all – those two things. Used correctly, they can be the most seductive and passionate thing to the human soul – but used incorrectly, they can be the Kiss of Death. [I would recommend losing this last sentence as it is a perfect example of hyperbole at best, and invites argument at worst.]

Imagine a man of only seventeen [maybe insert young before man, since a 17-year-old is not really a man yet], hardly more than a child – [again a matter of choice, perhaps, but this dash would be better replaced by a full stop, allowing the next part to stand as a sentence in its own right] He killed his father one day in April ‘87 and cast the memory of it [the murder/that experience; I think you could do a lot better than it] into the recesses beyond the glass of his sanity. [I like the connection between glass and sanity, the idea that the state of his sanity is so fragile, but wonder if you could phrase this better.] For twenty years he carried on without knowing the truth, [I think you should make it clear that he has blacked the incident out of his memory, if that is what happened, because the previous sentence does not say that.] until he returned home [he wasn't living at home? Since home is wherever one lives, I think you should clarify this point.]. As he did, a crack – small, but just big enough to allow the blue to pour through – began running up the glass from the bottom up. [Several problems here. Small crack, big enough = the small/big grates; maybe lose the big. ...but enough gets the idea across quite well. Two: what does blue have to do with anything? It has, quite literally, come out of the blue, so again you need to explain - or risk losing your reader. Three: running up...from the bottom up; repetition of up.]

And he began going crazy, sure he did. [Surely anyone who commits murder is already crazy, or was he meant to have been cured; has he been in an asylum?] Because its blue behind the glass, and no man can ever see that brilliant color and hold his sanity. [What does this mean? It's just words thrown on the page to me.] No man – hear me – [I would recommend losing the - hear me - as it interrupts the thought and adds nothing.] can ever go beyond that glass and gaze into the blue light of secrets and hope, [Okay, I have to stop you here. The glass obviously refers to sanity, the blue is still unqualified but presumably represents insanity - although blue is primarily associated with melancholia, which is not necessarily insanity unless it advances to a morbid state - but back to the text. So...no one can go beyond sanity to look into the insanity of secrets and hope...? I'm sorry, but this makes no sense at all. Instead it sounds as though you are trying to make a weighty observation out of non-sense, in it's literal meaning. Oh Dear God, to ever come out as he was before. [This final phrase is an incomplete thought and, even had the previous sentence meant anything, it would not augment the statement just made.]

But this one man might have been the exception to that; [Full stop, new sentence, not a semi colon.] Sure, [he] seems rational enough to think of the glass as something held firm by rules – but it isn’t so. This man went through the glass, gazed upon what was there and returned nearly unharmed. [Leaving aside the notion that sanity is held in place by rules, no one suffers through bouts of insanity and remains unchanged. The notion is preposterous. Perhaps you mean to say that he went insane but seems to have made a full recovery?]

One could call it destiny, or just plain luck, but the truth will always remain the same – something led him through the glass and guided him back. It might have been Kismet. [Kismet means fate or destiny so you are saying it could have been destiny, or it could have been destiny.]

The right word can stir an emotion, as you might know.
[Can stir an emotion? Can stir up emotions? Not really sure about the phrasing, on top of which, this thought remains unconnected to the previous paragraphs. You need to add something, otherwise it isn't telling us anything.]

***


As a prologue, this would put me off in its current condition. It's overblown, pretentious and says very little. You've spent 266 words to tell us that this young man is insane and killed his father in April of 1987.

One balmy afternoon in April of 1987, a young man lost his mind and killed his father.

There, I've just achieved the same thing in under 20 words.

The purpose of a prologue is to tempt the reader by providing a glimpse into some event that is a) instantly captivating, and b) germane to the plot. Nothing you have said here satisfies either of those requirements, never mind meeting them both. This actually reads more the blurb off the back of a novel, and even then, I would be inclined to put the book back on the shelf.

You aren't giving us anything to dig our teeth into, and I still have no idea what sort of story this would be. All I know is that it involves a crazy boy who murdered his father. Knowing that you are obsessed with Stephen King, I can conjecture about where you are going, but your readers will not have that advantage.

Is there some specific incident, something that occurred in this boy's past perhaps, that will shed light on why events turn out the way they do? That is what you need to put in your prologue, not this.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:28 AM
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Yeah I have to work on it.. and the reason I used secrets and words is because Satan, God and The Grim Reaper are all hiding something from him in hopes that he will save the universe from being flooded by his own words.

Ever since he drowned and was saved after he was dead for a few minutes he had this ability to be able to write things in and out of existence.. like what he writes becomes reality. And this guy is writing about an apocalyptic flood that is going to destroy the Earth as he is being negatively influenced by a kind of Cosmic Evil Entity greater than: God, Satan, The Grim Reaper and all the angels put together.

Sorry if this was uncalled for or unnecessary but just wanted to explain why Secrets and Words has to be the first three words.

Thanks for your help Q Wands.
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:00 AM
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An interesting idea, but none of that comes across in your prologue. Maybe you need to hone in on some aspect of what you've written here. What about the near drowning incident. In fact, if the almost drowning is something that happened a reasonable time (even weeks or months) before the opening of chapter one, it would make a very strong prologue. You would be supplying the reader with valuable background information while, at the same time, you could use it to foreshadow what will occur. Just a thought.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:26 AM
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I find that a useful way to put an introduction into a book is to use a quote from a poem or a philosopher/novelist/whatever. If you could find one that pertains to the overall tone of your novel, I'd suggest scrapping this intro (Which looks, as QoW said, like it's trying too hard to be dramatic), replacing it with a quote, and replacing this explanation with something more well placed in the book itself. The sentence QoW gave as a summation of your 266 words looks like a very good starting place! That would grab my attention if I had just picked up the book and begun reading. It reminds me a little bit of Dean Koontz's opening to Dragon Tears:

"Harry Lyon was having a perfectly good day until he had to shoot someone at lunch."

You can 't just stop reading after that, can you? On the other hand, I got really tired of Dickens' wishy-washyness after the twelfth "It was the blah of blah, it was the opposite of previous blahs". Dickens was paid by the word, but these days, we have graduated from such barbaric practices in favour of paying by the book, so no need to put in as much fluff as you can
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:29 AM
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I have quotes, three - but I think I am going to use QoW's advice and make the Prologue about the drowning incident.

A prologue is 100% necessary for the overall novel design.

The quotes are as follows:

Everyone is like a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody. - Mark Twain

He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore. - Sigmund Freud

The written word can be erased - not so with the spoken word - Unknown

This is my second try at the prologue, please tell me what you think:

They are what writers build their fiction on, even though sometimes I think of fiction as more than just that. It’s called fiction because we need something to call the ‘make-believe’ works of writers. To me, at least, writing is more than that. It’s an act equal to the work of God.

But how do we write? That’s a question you may ask yourself but never know the real answer to. It could be genetic, or a complete accident on your part. Sometimes you just pick up a pen and the words flow from nowhere.

A long time ago, a young man of only seventeen tried to drown himself. He got it right and blacked the entire memory of what he did before that out. He stored the memory of killing his own father behind a blue glass in the archives of his mind and awoke in the hospital with no memory of it.

And a few days later he picked up a pen and put it to his piece of white paper. And he marked the clean sheet of white with the first trace of a word. Sometimes he wishes he hadn’t done so and in turn might have prevented what would follow years down the line. That first word marked the beginning of the darkness.

The right word can be powerful.

Last edited by DarkPrince; 10-31-2008 at 12:45 PM.. Reason: Adding New Prologue
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