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Thalassa: The World Beneath the Waves
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Writing Technique > Prologue or chapter one? You decide...

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message 1: by M. (new)

M. Jones | 30 comments Hi,

I've just written a blog post about whether or not my book Thalassa: the world beneath the waves should lose its prologue for the second edition.

The book is a Giveaway for June, and will be free on Kindle from July 1st-5th, but there are previews online.

If anyone has a view, I'd welcome it.

Many thanks,

M. Jonathan Jones

Robert Zwilling | 229 comments I like the sound of it as you have it shown, how long is the prologue?

message 3: by Matt (new)

Matt Parker | 12 comments Having looked at the prologue, and the opening chapter as it is now, my gut instinct is that the chapter 1 opening is better. Maybe you should trust your inner marketing-manager.
I can see why you want to put the Prologue in there, but for me, it was way too long. Well written, certainly, but I felt there was too much detail about exactly what was being done, and how it was being done.
A book needs to grab the reader's attention quickly, and for me, Chapter 1, as you have it now, does that a lot better than your intended prologue. I would either leave the Prologue out completely, or cut it down to its bear essentials.
For example, there are a few instances where you seem to want the reader to have some personal investment in the mystery character who is blowing up the fake Syracuse ('The man knew what those currents could do...', ' one minute thirty, he had entered...', 'tick, tick, tick' ect) This would all be good stuff, if he were a main character. If not, lose the details. The reader does not have to get attached to him.

There is a lot of other detail that may not be important. I would try to strip everything non-essential away, and focus on the one key element that you want to get across at this point in the story (For me, that would be that the Syracuse that was destroyed was fake, and therefore something else must have happened to the real sub) You could probably do that in a single page.

These, of course, are just my instinctual opinions. I'm far from being an expert.

message 4: by M. (new)

M. Jones | 30 comments Thanks very much, Matt. The character in the prologue does come back into the book later on, so on a second-read of the whole thing it would all fit together slightly better. But as you say, first-reads depend on people having their attention grabbed, and maybe the prologue doesn't do that.
Thanks again, M.

message 5: by M. (new)

M. Jones | 30 comments Robert wrote: "I like the sound of it as you have it shown, how long is the prologue?"

Hi Robert. Thanks for your reply. The prologue is about 6 pages long, so small chapter length. Just about the optimal length for someone to get bored and put the book aside...


Robert Zwilling | 229 comments What so special about the information that it couldn't be presented as a flashback while reading the story, instead, it needs to be known to the reader before they start reading any of the story.

While there is a similarity in equipment and settings, I find the story more interesting than the prologue. The story sample is longer than the prologue but there does seem to be some kind of difference.

message 7: by M. (new)

M. Jones | 30 comments Hi Robert,
Thanks for taking the time and trouble to comment.
In the very first draft of the book I wrote a scene with a flashback (actually of something else, but still...) and I found it tricky to handle. Maybe that was just inexperience in writing, but I have to admit I'm not really a fan of flashbacks in a general sense. In any event, it wouldn't work as one. My original idea was just to include the reader from the very start in something that is being kept secret, but maybe that's not enough of a reason to keep the prologue. I'm glad you think the story is more interesting. Very useful.

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