The Sword of Dragons – Writing A Prologue

Hi everyone!

Image Source - http://geistig.deviantart.com/
Image Source – http://geistig.deviantart.com/

I have a lot of exciting news to start this post off with!!  :D  Firstly, part 1 of the series finale for The Orc War Campaigns has been posted, and as always, is completely free to read!  So click here to head on over to theswordofdragons.com and check it out!

Just as exciting, earlier this week, I began writing the manuscript for book 3 of the Sword of Dragons saga!  *bounces up and down in excitement*

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but my girlfriend and I always spend Wednesdays together working on our projects (usually she’s working on something cosplay-related while I work on book-related things.)  With the Orc War Campaigns all but finished, there was only one thing left to do :)

But…as is often the case, starting a manuscript is difficult at best.

Prologues – A Good Idea In Theory…

The difficulty I’m running into?  The prologue.

Somewhere back in time, over a decade ago, I thought, “I want to start my fantasy novel with a prologue!”  Fast forward several years to when I started writing book 2, and I thought, “I’ll write a prologue for all of the books!”

…and I decided that even though prologues are so difficult for me to write.  I rewrote book 1’s at least a dozen times, and about half that for Burning Skies.

So when I sat down to write book 3’s prologue…my mind drew a blank.  Maybe it’s my ADHD, which has been worse than usual lately, or maybe it’s just because prologues are difficult.  It took me over an hour to write one page (well, it ran a little bit more than one page), and in the end, I was completely dissatisfied with it.

The Purpose of a Prologue

Prologues tell a story that frame the novel.  What is this novel going to be about?  What might one or more of its themes be?  Or perhaps its primary purpose is to give the reader a little bit of history that isn’t covered in the novel itself, but is important to understand the story.

Image Source - www.ravensnpennies.com
Image Source – http://www.ravensnpennies.com

For The Sword of Dragons (book 1), the prologue told the story of the forging of the Sword and the end of the dragons’ civil war.  For Burning Skies, it framed the origin story of the Necromancers of Vestuul.

Book 3 of the Sword of Dragons will easily be one of the most complex stories I’ve ever told, with multiple threads converging in the final 1/3rd of the novel.  But the biggest event centers around the Order of the Ages, which is the central religion of Halarite, and the gods that the religion believes in.

That is the story the prologue will frame, the origin of the sixth and final god of the Order’s pantheon, named Zairel.  Why?  Well…that, my friends, is a story for another time ;)

In any case, this is the story I’m having trouble framing…not because I don’t know the story, but because a prologue should grab a reader’s attention and make them want to know “What’s going to happen in this novel?”  When Zairel’s story ends 10,000 before the novel starts, it seems (key word) like that’s all there is to tell about his story.

So the question is….how do I make the prologue seem like there’s more to his story, and that the next chapter in his story will be exciting and worth reading?

Moving On

In any case, the prologue is written…for now.  I have no doubt I’ll go back and reread it completely.  But I can’t let this difficulty hold up the rest of the novel.  So yesterday, I started writing chapter 1, and I intend to move forward with the rest of the manuscript.

So, intrepid readers, what do you think about prologues?  Do you like them?  Hate them?  If you’re a writer, do you like to write them?  Do you have any advice for all of the other writers out there about how to write them?

Please feel free to leave comments below, I love hearing from all of you!

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik

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