Today is the final instalment of the prologue for my new Work in Progress, The Moon is Made of Glass. If you’ve been following along with the WIPpets today is the day you find out the fate of Carys – the young girl watching the moon in the pond. If you haven’t read the first two instalments and want to get up to speed with the story, you can start here (it isn’t very long). For those of you who just want the summary, Carys is a young girl out at night fixated by a large and unusually behaving moon. She is with her nurse, an old woman who has immediately prior to this scene, shoved Carys.
So here is my belated Wednesday WIPpet (on the assumption it’s still Wednesday somewhere) – seven sentences in honour of the seventh month:
As Carys fell, time seemed to slow until there was only the water, the moon, and her reflection. Gentle hands caught hers as she slipped beneath the surface without a sound.
The woman stepped up to the water’s edge and watched the ripples recede. The pond was as still as glass and as black as the night sky.
As her eyes adjusted to the faint glow of starlight, she touched a hand to her cheek, stroking her skin – now as smooth as the surface of the water. Her face was pale, her eyes large and round, but the full lips pulled back into a triumphant smile.
Shedding the starchy nurse’s uniform, the woman wrapped herself in a pale silver dress of gossamer silk, pulled the pins from her hair and letting the long raven locks fall about her face, turned her back on the pond and disappeared into the night.
Hmm, it was the ending as promised (please don’t unleash the lynch mob). But of course the prologue is never the end of the story; rather, the small ending before the proper beginning.
Prologues have had pretty bad press over the years, often times having nothing to do the with the story proper. Often they are used as a means to info-dump backstory or to set the scene.
One of my friends bemoaned the prologue at the start of The Game of Thrones made her think it was a book about ice-zombies. Because this wasn’t her cup of tea she put the book down, and was really put out to discover much later that the ice-zombies were a very small part of the series.
From another perspective I’ve also read a few prologues that are so vague I’ve never figured out what it had to do with the story or what the author was getting at. Trying to be mysterious maybe? I’m not sure.
I may not always be the quickest on the uptake, but the prologue is the first taste of the story a reader gets. So whatever you do, you don’t want to put the reader off.
Agent Kristen Nelson, of the Nelson Literary Agency wrote a great post warning authors about the dangers of using a prologue, especially when you are querying. Agents have strong opinions about this sort of thing.
And yet I’m still partial to the prologue. (Although will think twice about including one if I ever submit to her agency!).
What I like about the prologue is that it can capture the reader’s attention at the outset. The prologue to The Moon is Made of Glass was my way into the story. The title just popped into my head one night, and I started writing out of curiousity to see where the story was going.
Like you (hopefully), I didn’t know what the two characters were doing out at night by the water; the woman didn’t strike me as being ‘very nice’, and the girl didn’t seem to be attached to her. I wondered what was going on with this very present moon. And what possible ending there would be for this child.
The only thing I will give you (which became apparent to me when writing) is that this is a faerie story (does the language convey it might be?); in the tradition of the meeting of the two worlds, the time between times and the cruelty (or different perspectives) of a race if not immortal, with a considerably longer life-span.
The actual story will be about Carys’s sister, born after Carys’s mysterious disappearance.
I’m hoping if this prologue survives (in a more polished form) it will give the reader an insight that the context of this story is a fantasy. So the family dynamic, and rather unusual choices of the parent will make sense to the reader before the character. I’m not sure if it will work, and to be honest it’s on the back burner for a while as I head back to The Fall of the Kings for one big push to the end.
And so, with the promise that the prologue isn’t really the end, I’m going to be taking a break from the blog for a while. I’d hoped to have finished The Fall of the Kings by now, and have realised that while I’ve done a fair amount of blogging this year, I’ve not been making much headway on the novel. Writing about not writing isn’t my grand design at all. And to make matters worse, I’m also falling behind on keeping up with the blogs I really love (you know who you are – and I’m sorry).
So the new plan is to restructure my timetable so I can carve out some solid chunks of full-on writing time (including the hours I typically spend on-line), at least until I’ve made some good progress to the WIP. I’m figuring there won’t be regular posts here for a while, but I’ll still be posting on There and Draft Again once a month, so I might do the odd promo just to keep in touch (and cast my eye over twitter – just sayin’).
On the subject of There and Draft Again check out my last few posts:
And this is not goodbye, just until the next beginning…