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  1. #11
    I wish I had better news, but this is a synopsis—a history lesson. You, the narrator, are talking to the reader in a voice devoid of all emotion but what's inherent to punctuation and a given word, and that reduces it to a history lesson.

    You're explaining, not presenting live scenes, which is a nonfiction approach, fact-based and author-centric. It also makes the narrator a "talking head," which is, far too often, the kiss of death, because fiction happens as we watch. It's not talked about. With fiction for the page the reader doesn't learn about the plot-points, they're made to live them because readers want to be entertained. And who is entertained by reading a history book? Not many. History focuses on the big picture, and is composed of events. In fiction we call that the plot, and it's something that can only be appreciated in retrospect. It's the writing, and how that writing causes the reader feel as if they're living the story, that makes the reader want to turn the page. And that's a learned skill, one not mentioned in our school years.
    Well, that was over 1000 years ago.
    None of what's said before this is necessary to the story, any more than we need to know how Dorothy's aunt and uncle met and ended up on the farm, in the Wizard of Oz. Your protagonist lives in that world, and may or may not know that history. Do you have to know the history of your country to live a day in it today? No. And story is about what matters to the person living it, not what mattered to people 1000 years before. In short, backstory is irrelevant to the scene that should be opening as we read the first paragraph.

    Everything you present is history. Story would be the moment-by-moment observations and struggle of the character we call the protagonist. It lives in the uncertainty of success of that struggle, and in the desires, needs, and emotions that drive the protagonist. And since it makes sense that if you want the reader to appreciate the writing as they would were a pro writing it, it makes sense that you need to dig into the techniques of fiction, to know what that pro knows.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greenstein View Post
    I wish I had better news, but this is a synopsis—a history lesson. You, the narrator, are talking to the reader in a voice devoid of all emotion but what's inherent to punctuation and a given word, and that reduces it to a history lesson.

    You're explaining, not presenting live scenes, which is a nonfiction approach, fact-based and author-centric. It also makes the narrator a "talking head," which is, far too often, the kiss of death, because fiction happens as we watch. It's not talked about. With fiction for the page the reader doesn't learn about the plot-points, they're made to live them because readers want to be entertained. And who is entertained by reading a history book? Not many. History focuses on the big picture, and is composed of events. In fiction we call that the plot, and it's something that can only be appreciated in retrospect. It's the writing, and how that writing causes the reader feel as if they're living the story, that makes the reader want to turn the page. And that's a learned skill, one not mentioned in our school years.None of what's said before this is necessary to the story, any more than we need to know how Dorothy's aunt and uncle met and ended up on the farm, in the Wizard of Oz. Your protagonist lives in that world, and may or may not know that history. Do you have to know the history of your country to live a day in it today? No. And story is about what matters to the person living it, not what mattered to people 1000 years before. In short, backstory is irrelevant to the scene that should be opening as we read the first paragraph.

    Everything you present is history. Story would be the moment-by-moment observations and struggle of the character we call the protagonist. It lives in the uncertainty of success of that struggle, and in the desires, needs, and emotions that drive the protagonist. And since it makes sense that if you want the reader to appreciate the writing as they would were a pro writing it, it makes sense that you need to dig into the techniques of fiction, to know what that pro knows.
    thanks for the advice. really gives me something to think about.

    although a small side note i should've mentioned: i'm not the narrator. the narrator is......well, it's hard to call him a character in the story. he is telling this particular story from his own vantage point.

    to describe him, he is a "supernatural creature to supernatural creatures". a boogeyman to boogeymen, if that makes sense.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    I forget how long ago, but that there was a lot of attention given to the comet as large as a house that was going to be traveling "close" to Earth. Then there was the one only as big as a car that was going to go between the Earth and the moon. In both cases, it was decided that no action was required. What action? Launching an atomic bomb to break it up.
    Ahhh! The Armageddon solution. Pure fantasy for many reasons. One is most comets are too big for a nuke, or even a few nukes to break them up. Another being that we don't have the technology to deliver nuclear weapons to deep-space (or even near-space) objects. Ballistic missiles aren't space worthy tech. And the most important reason; even if you broke it, it would do no good. That would be like someone pointing a rifle at your face and you exchanging it for a shotgun. One rock or many, it doesn't make a difference, it just spreads out the impact.

    By the way the closest approach to Earth by a comet in at least 240 years happened in 2016, and that one only came within about 2 million miles of Earth. What you are talking about are some of the frequent close fly-bys of asteroids a couple of dozen of which fly between the moon and Earth each year. Car sized asteroids aren't much of a danger. They can make for a nice show -- like the one in Russia a couple of years ago -- but they seldom make it to the ground. A planet-killer would need to be huge -- city sized at least.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

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  4. #14
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Neal Stephenson, in Seveneves, has the moon fall apart for no reason - or more specifically, for an unexplained reason. It depends what the focus of your novel is. If it is about the things thagt transpire after that point, you could potentially macguffin it up if the moon has to fall apart for the rest of the story to make sense. If the cause of the moon exploding is a major thing, yep - you may have to dig deep. Fantasywise there could be any number of reasons for it blowing up. Maybe the gods are done with the universe and are starting to decommission it.

    As to your writing, it is a bit "prologguey" while at the same being a bit chatty. As a prologue, it is not necessarily bad. I think the biggest issue you may have is that you are fusing genres and the risk is a story that doesn't know what it wants to be. Vampire/werewolf/other shenanigans, or post-lunar apocalytpic goings on. Space prologue or voicey chat from some guy. Fans of one type might not be fans of the other. And of course the fact that your lunar event is called "Sky Fall" is not going to go unnoticed by fans of both North London singer Adele and James Bond. But all that aside, you could also consider working in this prologue-backstory alongside the "poresent day" events in your novel when you do come to redraft it.


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  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by max acorn View Post
    this is my first post here and i decided to gets some help and thoughts about my novel. i'm almost finished but i still need input on the rough draft. my other writer friends say i have something here. what do you think? keep in mind, this is a rough draft. it is full of errors and mistakes. it's just a pile of sand. i haven't turned it into a sandcastle yet.




    PROLOGUE



    I am no one and everyone.


    I know that statement is very vague and broad but it is the most fitting of statements for a being such as I.

    I am no one and everyone, a face in the crowd that blurs into the others, a stranger to be exact, which is fine by me. I prefer this status. It gives me an amount of anonymity that favors what I do. What is it that I do? I............ observe; People, places, events, stories and such. It’s a hobby of mine. And when you are being who is unbound by the limits of space and time, you need lots of hobbies or go crazy and I've been crazy. It's not very fun. My identity and how I came to be in this peculiar situation of mine is unimportant at this time. What is important is the story that I am about to share with you. My status as a unbound being will give more credence to the tale and its setting. Why is this important? Simple. Because what you are about to experience is beyond your understanding from the world you live in.


    Now, please understand. When I say “your world”, I do not mean that this story doesn’t take place in some far off alien world in a distant galaxy. It occurs here, earth, 3rd planet in the system of sol, milky way galaxy. When I say “your world”, I mean the era in which you currently live in, commonly know in this era as “the old world”. Keep this in mind as I relate to you the facts that lead up to the story.


    The creation of the current era begins in the 21st century, 2047 to be exact. I guess you could call it a golden age, if that what one looks like. Humanity had reach a point in its history that it could be called it a golden age, and with good reason too; global relations between nations were such that mass scale wars was a thing of the past, medical science had progressed to the point where crippling and deadly diseases were stamped out, cybernetics and cryonics became viable fields of study, economic problems were reduced to the minimum levels possible, and the united states celebrated the election of its first Latino president, Isaac Alvarez, who started his term by annexing Puerto Rico and Cuba into the union as the 51st and 52nd states respectively. Truly, it was a good time to live on earth.

    In my observations of humanity and its various nations, counties, and cultures, I have learned one thing: humans are arrogant. Truthfully. Humans have this almost genetic belief that they are the center of the universe and that everything they say and do is correct and right and perfect in the eyes of their god. They break themselves out of this egotistical mindset via what I call 'hard lessons'. At this time, they were gonna learn another yet lesson.

    Nov. 2nd, 2047

    Just another day on this little blue marble in space. At least, that’s what they thought. On this night, a event would occur that would become another hard lesson for mankind and create another new era for earth.

    The moon exploded.

    This is what the 2 million plus people who happened to be watching the sky that night said when asked what they saw. The moon simply blew up.
    This proved a false assumption however as the moon did not truly explode. More like, something hit the moon, causing a good part of it blow off into millions of pieces. 2/3 of the moon was blown off in that instant. In under an hour, every space agency, dot.com, and anyone with a telescope began to speculate about what exactly happened. Some thought it was rogue piece of space junk that hit. Others say it was a rare convergence of space rays that happened once every one million or so years. A few even suggested that a errant nuke from Russia's space program from the days of the cold war malfunctioned and launched, colliding into our nearest celestial neighbor. Even I, with my status, have not been about to ascertain the true cause of this event. All I’ve heard is rumor and theory.

    Needless to say, the resulting impact of this event was felt almost immediately. Global tidal changes happened almost over night, with cities such as New York, Los angles, and San Francisco found themselves treading water. large chunks of the moon that were blown off became a rain of death that pummeled the planet for 7 straight days, destroying cities, killing millions, rendering most of the nations on earth into utter chaos and changing the very landmasses themselves forever.

    Sky fall.


    That is the name that this catastrophe would be known by in history. Now, I have no idea who came up with the term or where it originated from. Its just something that appeared one day in books, newspapers, and documents over time. Not that I care really. It just fit with what happened. Now this was a hard lesson that would humble anyone but it was only the first hard lesson that mankind would learn in the coming years.

    3 months after sky fall, the reports began to surface in the greater US, reports of people who were seemed stronger than most, hated direct sunlight and seemed to enjoy consuming blood. Human blood. A few were captured and examined. They knew what these creatures were but weren't willing to admit that they actually existed. The results of theses examinations proved the old stories were true.

    Vampires. The ancient blood drinkers of European lore were indeed real and apparently living among them, blending in with humans for thousands of years. For a time, hunting these creatures was a way for humanity to cope, take its mind off their ruined world and these poor creatures became the focal point for their rage and hatred. Soon, however, as more and more vampires appeared in other nations, they began to realize that this wasn’t just some random grouping or small gatherings of the night creatures. No, this……was a nation.

    A nation of vampires.

    And they would be silent no longer.

    And they were not alone.

    The others had hidden themselves in the shadows of history and veils of myth and legend but now, in this ruined world, they would and could return.

    Lycans, the creature of the hunt. Driven by their loyalty to the pack, they are born hunters with the power to shift from man to beast at will.

    Elves, the immortal masters of magic. Hidden in secret houses in the area known as the Bermuda Triangle, elves preferred to keep to themselves rather that hide among the lesser humans.

    Dwarves, the diminutive race of craftsmen. Living under the mountains, dwarves have been building cities of architectural genius since before humans learned to build straw huts.

    One by one, these races emerged and humans learned that their world, which they claimed to be utter masters of, wasn’t just reserved just for them alone. Not anymore. And Of course, they didn’t exactly take this lightly.
    Thus we enter “The Chaotic Century”. Actually, it's more like 94 years really but a century sounds better, I guess. This was a time of bitter conflict between the three top races: humans, vampires, and lycans. All three battling for what little remained of the world. For a long time, it was something of a stalemate, with no one race coming out on top.

    That was until firestorm hit.

    It was a virus, plain and simple. A deadly, virulent virus. It always seems to be that mankind’s greatest enemy has always been that smallest of organisms, always brought low by some disease and this one was no different. It came on suddenly and without warning, sweeping through the remaining human cities like a firestorm, hence the name. there was no cure or proper treatment for it but none was needed as like all plagues, it simply died out. Sadly, the damage was done. More than 1 billion humans died in the span of 10 years, more than half of the total remaining populace of the earth after Skyfall. By then, it was too late for them to actually win. Fighting the virus put them behind in the war for the world and in the end, vampires come out on top as the new dominate race of planet earth. Because of how their society views those who they see as the strongest, lycans came under the rule to their new lords, serving as soldiers, bodyguards, and enforcers, leaving humans unable to fight against this new world power.

    With their new status as the top of the world's global food chain, the vampires desired a nation, a true nation for their kind. Reaching a deal with the 70th and final president of the united states, Jackson Conroe, the vampires enacted the “Conroe treaty”, which effectively gave up control of the Continental US, Canada, Mexico, central America, and the tip of south America to the vampires. The Conroe treaty effective disbanded the united states as it was, thus establishing what is the now the grand Vampiric empire, lead by empire Vladimir Tepes Dracula II, the son of the first true king of all vampires. Being wise and fairer than you'd expect, Emperor Vlad II strive to create a true nation of all races, regards of their origins and encouraged all to stay and prosper, including humans. It goes without saying that humans are sore losers and were not about to live under the rule of the so-called “godless demons”. Less than 500,000 humans remained in the empire while the rest left for other nations and lands to dream of what once was.

    Well, that was over 1000 years ago.

    Since that time, the Empire has become one of this era's “3 Great Nations”, along side the Protectorate of Vatican and the Kingdom of Kahn.
    The Empire was founded in the first calendar year of the New World or 1 NW for you historians out there. It comprises all of what was once known as North America. This includes the old continental United States, the countries of Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the northern tip of South America. And all of this does not include the over 10 different colonies, territories, and allies the Empire has across the world.
    As the name implies obviously, it is ruled by a monarchy, the royal family of Dracula who have reigned for over 1000 years, from their floating castle that has been their home for generations. Just below them in the hierarchy is the high vampire houses, containing the so called "pure" vampires who make up the empire's nobility.

    Next are the Elven Strides, based in the Clear Islands just south of the empire. You might remember it as the Bermuda Triangle. yes. THAT Bermuda Triangle. The Strides were reasonable for the development and proliferation of Magi-Tek which has revolutionize commercial, medical, and military industries.

    On their level is Mountain lords, the 13 leaders of the 13 clans of the Dwarfish race based out of Russt, one of 7 wonders of the New World. The vampires ruled the empire. The Elves paid for it. And the Dwarves built it. It's said that no building, bridge, stadium, highway, or porta-potty goes up without Dwarf overseeing it. And with good reason. Dwarves are masters of architecture and engineering. It is considered foolish to build anything in the empire without them.

    The empire is divided up into 7 different regions: east coast, west coast, mid west, the slim south, the high north, the fat south, and new Texas. Each region is governed by a lord governor, who is elected by either the nobles of the high houses, the masters of the strides, or the mountain lords. But it is only through the approval of the emperor or a member of the royal family does the person actually gains the position.
    Militarily, it's standing army is second only to the P.O.V. Despite it's name, the Imperial armed forces are a patch work of different races: Vampires, Humans, Lycans, Sasquatches, Dwarves, Elves, Faes, and many other races who reside in the empire. The job of protecting the people and enforceing law and order falls to the Imperial Police Department or IPD for short. While anyone can enlist in the IPD, it is primarily composed of Lycans with some offices having Elves and Vampires in minor roles such as CSI agents, forensics experts, and information annalists.




    It is now the year 1076 NW.

    The world you know is gone.

    Welcome to the new world. And in the new world, everything is possible.
    Many readers skip prologues, and this one is a good example of why they do. No one wants to read a book report, and that's what this reads like. It's a classic 'info dump' that inexperienced writers use to tell readers everything the writer thinks is cool about the world they've created. This is usually done because the writer hasn't yet learned how to provide necessary background during the telling of the actual story, or because they don't want to take the time to do so. Sometimes it's a bit of both.

    There's just way too much going on in this bit and none of it is written in a way that makes the reader care. Go back to one of your favorite books and read the opening, then reread yours. You will find that there aren't many similarities. You probably have a terrific story in mind, but you aren't doing it justice by racing through it throwing out every cliche imaginable (destruction from the sky, vampire society, global epidemics, Tolkienian races, etc.). You need to slow it down and give the reader some substance, some story, not a frivolous recounting of events that they don't care about. And why don't they care? Because readers care about what happens to people, to characters. Put your events in some sort of context. Show how they affect people.

    BD mentioned the 'chattiness' of your narrator's style. You should really think about losing that. Phrases like; 'to be exact' and 'plain and simple' and 'you might remember it as' are just space fillers that don't mean anything and they make your narrator sound like a drunk in a bar more than the "Boogieman of boogiemen". How your narrator sounds is important to how your readers feel about your story. Is your book going to a light-hearted, campy, fluff piece? If so, stick with the tone you've set here. But, if you are planning something more serious, start setting that tone here.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  6. #16
    how would you suggest i streamline the prologue, if possible?

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by max acorn View Post
    how would you suggest i streamline the prologue, if possible?
    I'd skip it altogether. Start the story where the story starts and give background as the characters need it. The reader learns what the characters learn. If it's enough for your protagonist, it's enough for your reader.

    Look at books with huge backstorys like Dune, The Sword of Truth series, and The Wheel of Time series. Those tales start with characters doing something, not with gluts of historic facts being dumped on the reader. But in each one we learn what we need to know as part of the story.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  8. #18
    not sure if i wanna cut it out completely. it does kind of introduce "the stranger", who is a part of the story. but i'll mess around with it. see how it feels.

  9. #19
    although a small side note i should've mentioned: i'm not the narrator. the narrator is......well, it's hard to call him a character in the story. he is telling this particular story from his own vantage point.
    It matters not at all if the narrator is the author, or the author wearing a wig and makeup and pretending to be the character. Either way, someone who is not on the scene is talking about it, as an external voice explaining what happened. And since the reader can't hear your voice, it has only generic emotion, dictated by the punctuation and word meaning as the reader sees it. For that reason, we can't transcribe a verbally told storyteller and expect the reader to get what we would say, as we would perform it, were we telling the story live. The tricks of the trade for our profession were developed to compensate for the fact that our medium has unique strengths and weaknesses that do not match up with other storytelling methods.

    So it's not that you're doing something wrong, a matter of how well you're writing, or the story. It's that because we're not trained in the professional skills of fiction writing for the page during our school years, we must acquire them for ourselves, as in any profession. They're not all that hard to find or to learn—though it does take time to master them, and use them automatically—so putting some time aside to dig into them would be time well spent. As Mark Twain so wisely observed, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” And we leave our school years with a lot of "just ain't so." After all, who's to tell us? Not our teachers. They learned their skills in the same classrooms. Not our schoolmates. And not our reading, because when we read, we're seeing the result of a lot of polishing and revision/editing. We see the result of that work but not the decisions that went into the revisions, and the original creation of the story. For that we need to understand the process.

    Strangely, we leave school with a clear understanding that we're not ready to be a professional journalist or playwright. We don't think that watching TV teaches us to write a screenplay or to direct a show. But almost universally, we assume that our schooldays writing skills and reading have prepared us for a career in writing fiction. And I was no different. So you have a lot of company. And certainly the problem is fixable.

    So do a bit of digging, and, hang in there, and keep on writing.

  10. #20
    i decided i'm gonna keep the prologue but i'm going at it from a different angle.

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