Oy. Today is Surgery Day.
If you missed the earlier post about what’s going on with my mom, you can check it out here. Basically, she has cancer (ACK, thank god I’m in Project Manager Mode, as my friend M so eloquently and accurately put it, otherwise I could so easily freak out right now).
So yeah, Mom’s having a huge surgery today that we’re hoping will get it all out, and she’ll be in the hospital for the rest of the week, recovering. The surgery is today at 2:30 p.m., so if you have a spare moment around that time to send out some mental hugs and shake hands with a chimney sweep, we’d love you forever.
Goodness, I LOVE the fact that this writing challenge and community are already helping me become more disciplined. As I said in my first ROW80 post, it’s not that I wasn’t disciplined before, but rather that I was a little haywire about it. I would sit down to write and feel like a failure if I didn’t do something huge like spew out a 4,ooo-word chapter because I hardly ever set any concrete goals for myself. ROW80′s helping me realize that it’s okay if you can’t complete an Epic Writerly Task every day. What’s more important is that you work steadily and set reasonable goals for yourself.
I know, it’s like…duh. And I’m pretty sure I’ve said all that before, too, but sometimes someone has to hit you over the head with a hammer so you’ll finally and truly understand something, and in this case the someone is my dear Kait, and the hammer is ROW80 (and not Nathan Fillion’s, ahem, thingading).
Man, this post is linky today.
Anyway, you can check out all the ROW80 check-in posts listed here to see how it’s helping a bunch of other people, too.
This right here^ is the personification of ROW80. (God, why is everything Nathan Fillion-themed lately? Does this mean Firefly‘s coming back?? *crosses self*)
Right now, I’m in the middle of the Cracked prologue, and it’s got me thinking.
This is the first prologue I’ve written since crawling out of my scared-writer hole and into the actual Real Writerly World, which is to say, the first prologue I’ve written whilst fully aware that lots of people hate prologues. (I’m not even gonna try to find links to all the numerous blog posts I’ve seen on the issue because, you know, did I mention today is Surgery Day? MY NERVES.)
Seriously, I’ve seen people talking about prologues with such hate. No, not even just hate. More like HATE!!!!1!
Why is this?
Yeah, sometimes prologues can be cheesy, or they do the whole clichéd this-is-a-scene-from-the-end-that-doesn’t-make-sense-now-but-hey-it’s-hooky-and-when-you-see-it-happening-later-you’ll-totally-be-like-WHOA thing, or they’re just confusing because they talk about things you don’t understand yet.
I get those complaints. Believe me, I do.
But then I see people taking those complaints to a totally irrational level, and they start saying stuff like, “I never read prologues. Never. If I open a book and see that it has a prologue, I won’t read or buy it. Instead? You know what I’ll do? I’LL BURN IT AND THEN EAT THE ASHES AND POOP THEM OUT AND BURN THEM AGAIN.”
Maybe the reason why I don’t have a problem with prologues is that I think so cinematically, and prologues work GREAT in movies. (Yes, I know, not everything that works in movies works in books, and vice-versa, but I really think this can apply to both mediums.)
Evidence here, here, and here. I mean, when I first watched these movies, I had no idea what the heck was going on, but it was still AWESOME. Other good examples are the opening scenes of Jurassic Park and the 2009 Star Trek, but I couldn’t find clips, grrr.
Also, sometimes, you need some background information. Yeah, no, shut up. (Just kidding, I love you.) I know what you’re saying — that you can convey all necessary background information through the actual narrative and through flashbacks and stuff. And that’s true, you can.
But if you can do it in a prologue, and it’s not cheesy, and it rocks? I say go for it.
I might be a little biased. Two of my three current (as in, writing/editing/querying) projects begin with prologues. But they’re not cliché, and they’re necessary because, yes, they actually DO initiate the story’s action. Also, I could title them “Chapter 1″ and the prologue-haters wouldn’t have an issue with them (which is just silly, playing-with-semantics crap). But I call them “Prologue” because they take place chronologically before the date of the main story, which doesn’t make them any less important or unnecessary; it just means they aren’t “Chapter 1.”
And you know what? Sometimes when people try to convey background information in the actual narrative or through flashbacks or whatever, it doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s just as cheesy and forced as the haters think a prologue would be.
So, you know what the best thing to do is?
Write your story in whatever way works best for your story.
You need a prologue? Good. Write it.
You don’t want a prologue? You want to start with Chapter 1 and convey the background-y, prologue-y information through flashbacks? Good. Write it.
Either way, just write your story, and write it well. That way, if prologue-haters don’t pick up your book in the store because it begins with the dreaded P-word, they’ll end up reading it anyway, because their friends will be like, “OMG READ THIS BOOK and by the way it has a prologue,” and then the haters will have to eat their words, won’t they? Also, they’ll grow on a personal level.
It’s a win for EVERYONE!
Is this coherent? God, I could run a marathon right now.
What do YOU think about prologues? Love them? Hate them? Couldn’t care less either way?
To wrap up, I leave you with some joyous musical treats. NBC recently released a 30 Rock soundtrack (in case you didn’t know, I love this show like…like…NOTHING because there’s no simile suitable enough for my ardor), and it is AWESOME. Don’t believe me? Check out these tracks (they’ll make you smile):
Gospel Version of the 30 Rock theme:
The cast in a spontaneous rendition of “Midnight Train to Georgia”:
Tracy Jordan’s novelty party song, “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”: