The Prologue

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Working through the edits for one of my works i was given two rounds of feedback.

The first noted that the first chapter of a fantasy should contain a little more of the fantasy world than i had offered up. So i set to work on the solution and ended up with a hundred or so words which i didn’t even know were important to the story until i had written them. They detailed the very reason the main character was important, the developing magical battle and a blurred line between good v evil which is one of the center points of the work.

But i had not written a new chapter 1, 99% of what i write is in the first person  and my MC is clueless which left me with a side character. One who knows everything but features very little in the actually work. A great new angle to play with. I termed this new chapter a prologue and asked for another round of comments.

This time i was slammed back in the other direction. My feedback centered around the lack of need for a prologue and the fact that my helpful readers only read prologue plus chapter one didn’t help. But then if the book doesn’t make sense by chapter one there’s no use arguing that they should keep reading until it does because lets face it that’s not how you sell books.

Yet i’m still too close to the project to be objective. I agree i must tighten the prologue, make it worth reading on its own. I was suggested this website: http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/prologue.shtml

But even as i read my prologue i’m ticking off these boxes.

Do i really need it?… maybe not but it’s doing a job that can’t be done any other way.

What does it do?… it introduces the drama, the conflict and the imminent death of the mc from the get go. It adds the fantasy element that was missing from the first chapter.

Does it do the job right? perhaps not, i can edit that in. but with all the editing i am still ending up with a prologue.

From above mentioned website:

(quote)Job description: “different POV”

A different POV prologue describes a certain event from a point-of-view different than the main characters of the plot. This event may occur in the same time-frame as the plot, or years before or after. Its relevance may be made clear in the course of Chapter One, or Chapter Thirty-four. However, it must have a relevance, which will affect the plot substantially in some way (otherwise it’s idling away). A different POV prologue should be written in third-person, even if the novel is in first-person. (end quote)

This simply leaves me knowing i have more work to do but not knowing if i should go back to the original chapter 1 and delete failing prologue or keep trying to make the prologue work? Though i’m leaning towards making the prologue work because in the end simply deleting it is an easy way out and really involves no work so i’ll keep at the prologue until someone slaps me and say’s ‘i’ll publish it but ditch the prologue’ or something similar (would be nice 🙂

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How to make the most out of Devient Art as a Writer?

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I stumbled across a beta readers group on deviant art, i’ve always loved the website but had never come across writers using it so i was shocked to see this great resource sitting right under my nose. Of course seeing as though i only signed up yesterday everything seems new and exciting and things may turn out to be different and un-ccommodating but i’m keen to find out for myself.

My usually flips through deviant art are in the browsing section, looking over mostly sketches and pictures for ideas and inspiration. Like trying to find the look in my characters eyes so i can better describe it, or an old country barn etc. Because i write fantasy there aren’t always version of what i am trying to portray in reality and it helps to immerse myself in other peoples fantasy worlds.

Which mean’s i’m a little lost on how to use the website for myself. Aside from the beta readers group there’s a journal option and i can upload my own work. My artistic side is level with my daughters so perhaps not my artwork and i’m apprehensive to upload chapters of my manuscript until i can get a feel of the kind of feedback i will get. I don’t want to leave myself wide open for some harsh comments just yet.

So has anyone used deviant art as a writer, how do you use it and what kind of responses have you had?

Resources

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I’ve been stumbling through the internet trying to find as many opportunities as possible, though i’m sure i’m going around in circles.

What kinds of opportunities? Better me light at the end of the tunnel type keys to open the doors that will result in a query returned with a big fat ‘yes, sure send your work in’ type reply.

My first port of call was workshops, writing and publishing type things that run for a day or two. But then i started to get worried that i didn’t know who was running these workshops and the blurb that they were author of some book wasn’t very reassuring when that book wasn’t in my genre or age bracket or a best seller. Besides i don’t  need someone to tell me my plot must be water tight and my grammar in order (my grammar has no order but i send everything off to an editor in the end) i need something more specific.

A few workshops were run by someone who used to work in the publishing industry which got me thinking that actually meeting someone that still does work in the industry might be more fruitful.

Now my search key words include seminar and conference and the writers festivals in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane seem to have the most number of agents, editors and publishers to gleam wisdom from.

Sydney: http://www.swf.org.au/

Brisbane: http://www.brisbanewritersfestival.com.au

Melbourne: http://www.mwf.com.au

Often i hear of an event as it finishes and by then i’ve missed it and by next year i’ve forgotten about it.

My problem is i really don’t know where my efforts should be focused and so i fall short in knowing what i need to learn. One person will say the characters really spoke to them then another will tell me they’re too mary-jane and slightly flat. One will say that i’m writing in a saturated market and another will comment that the manuscript varies from the majority on the book shelves.

So even if i do make it to a ‘wow’ conference or ‘amazing’ workshop i may not have my questions answered… i don’t even know what my questions are yet.

Which has me thinking. Is it that none of us really know what we’re doing, just some of us luck into all the right moments (place, plot, agent, etc) whilst others do not; for the same reason some babies are born during the day and others at night… that is for no real definite reason at all.

Beta readers

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I just spent 3 hours working through chapter one of a beta readers manuscript and i’m not even finished yet. I’d love to get a chance to redo this read once they’ve edited and see how my comments work or don’t work. As often is the case it’s more likely to be don’t work.

My number 1 fear when swapping chapters is the quality and time swap not just the swap in paper. Will my 3 hours be returned by 3 hours of their time or a simply quick scan? It is a risk anyone takes when working through edits with help from others. even when i’ve swapped with friends and family and said ‘give me your best shot’ i often get a whole manuscript that’s been read and a simply paragraph ‘watch your spelling’…

But then on the other end of the scale i have my horrific ordeal with a forum where i said ‘go mad’ and got told i was mad.

Why can’t there be a most holy of sources where we take our work and receive complete accurate and usable feedback?

I don’t know if anyone else notices this but most often the sentence you changed on person A’s suggestion will be ripped to shreds by person B and so you change it again and person C claim’s it’s needs to be cut completely so you do then person XYZ says ‘why don’t you explain this?’ and all you want to do is scream ‘I did, about 26 readers ago it was exactly like that!’

I hate comments like ‘this is useless’ why? is it repetitious? is it vague? is it a side note? please tell me why because i think it’s fine or i wouldn’t have put it there.

Anyway always happy to swap a few chapters, leave a comment if you want to share your experiences.

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