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  1. #1
    S Stull

    Comments and criticisms welcome...

    I was wondering if anyone would give me comments on this revised portion of my book. It's the prologue, and is meant to be distant and dreamy before the story plunges into action. The portion I've got explains some terms. (I posted it before, used the comments, and got this-- many thanks to those who did.) Comments welcome, everything is appreciated. Thank you if you read it!

    Prologue: The tale of two adventures, Part One.

    I lie quietly in a curtained four-poster bed. There is an almost-empty glass of wine in my trembling hand, a quill, a pot of ink, and a single tallow candle on the small bedside table — and beside those three items, a blue ceramic pitcher of water.

    Silently, I swirl the dregs of my wine in its goblet and survey the small diary resting before me. The lone candle burning low on the bedside table contributes its meagre glow to the puddle of moonlight escaping into the room past heavy velvet drapes. There is just enough light to read by.

    The small, leather-bound diary with its ornamental gold clasp is not merely a journal, however innocent it may seem: it is the penning of a terrible story. It contains a tale of love and wonder, but also hate. A legend of magic. And adventure.

    I flip to the first page and begin to read aloud. The words do not come easily. I can hear my lilting accent beyond the whisper of my voice:

    “There is a tale I wish to tell,” I say, voice trembling. It had been a long time since I last spoke, for the heartache of loss has long lain me to silence. I breathe deeply, wanting to go on Determination wins. I lick my parched lips and continue.

    “It is a fine tale, but one of the darkest nature. It is the story of a great journey, of a brave young girl, and her many deeds. It is her tale, of growing old and wise, of her losses and victories, of her pains and pleasures. She, as what she was, should have been strong.

    “But should have and are, are very different things, you see — and to make things more difficult still, not all things are as they seem. In a story, a girl of no ancestry can turn from urchin to princess… Or princess to urchin.
    “She was whisked away from her parents, concealed from her enemies, and seemingly abandoned to a lowly street life. Yet her destiny never lay within such a humble life, for she was Impressed by a wonderful Queen Dragoness. Her own bonding secured her fate. After Impression, enemies discovered her and triggered the beginnings of what would become an epic journey. Her strength only grew.

    “I suppose that I must elaborate. Impression is the linking of two minds and bodies: that of a Dragon and that of a person. It is a tender, yet shared moment, for so many gather to watch. I, too, know the glories of such a moment. I Impressed, and I lost my Dragon, as so many others before me. The pain of losing a Dragon is, to say the least, shattering.

    “I clench empty air in my left fist, the tell-all scale in my right, and watch a new Hatching. Anguish fills me — my own, and the girl’s. It is through a Dragon’s scale that I know of this tale, feel the pain of the Rider within it, and understand. The first scale shed by a Queen Dragoness always retains a little power; all a pair’s memories are revealed within its depths. Sometimes, these small moments may seem very precious, for they slip away so effortlessly. I speak of the Queen Dragon, for she is the Dragons’ leader, the largest in her ‘coven’ of fellows, and is their protector and mother.

    “This explained, I must begin... But where?
    "By the dragon’s scale…”

    I am so thirsty — so weak. I reach for the flagon of water by my bed, and pour until the water laps at the brim of the goblet and beads of liquid drip down its shining edges. The goblet shakes and trembles, but I hardly notice as I lift it to my lips and drink greedily. Suddenly I stop, angry at myself for my own folly. I am a great vessel of emotion… Yet pain is my only companion.

    I long for my Dragon.

    Replacing the goblet, I reach beneath my pillows and withdraw a lump of something heavy and gold: A Dragon’s Scale. Gazing into the depths, I settle back to watch. And watch I do as the next events unfurl before me in the tapestry of life.

  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    I'm sure most people will tell you they skip over prologues.

  3. #3
    Ce Ce

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    I don't skip prologues.

    This one, however, would make me skip the book.

  4. #4
    S Stull

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    Is it just too slow?
    And would it perhaps be better to name it: Chapter One?

  5. #5
    nom de plume

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    I don't like prologues. I'll read them but when i discover that it's superfluous or its information could have been handled just as well or more effectively in the body of the novel, i get peeved.

    This prologue reeks of exposition and repetition. It comes across as an overwritten attempt to ... impress the reader. An example:

    "... and withdraw a lump of something heavy and gold: A Dragon’s Scale."

    Surely, your character must know what that "something" is. In fact, she even mentions it four words later. So, this is clearly the character talking to the audience. A reader doesn't want to sit in the audience and watch the stage where an author pontificates on what's what. S/he wants to sit IN the character's head and live the action WITH the character.

    The occasional stylistic use of repitition to make a point is fine but its incessant use is tiring to the reader (to say the least).

    An example:

    "I Impressed, and I lost my Dragon, as so many others before me. The pain of losing a Dragon is, to say the least, shattering."

    I impressed and lost my Dragon, .... Its loss was painful. (I don't even like shattering because it begs the question how and what it shatters).

  6. #6
    nom de plume

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    So, this is clearly the AUTHOR talking to the audience.

  7. #7
    nom de plume

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    In the last sentence of my first post i suggested that this is all you said but in many more words (i.e. I Impressed and lost my Dragon, as so many other before me. Its loss was painful). It is not meant as a suggestion on how you should actually write this sentence. That's up to you.

    But when you say "pain" and heap on "shattering" that's overdoing it. Then "to say the least" is over the top.

    (PS. I scanned a bit of the beginning and end of this excerpt. I'm sure others will comment on other things).

  8. #8
    nom de plume

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    This is my very last post and then i shut up.

    I just noticed that you say that the prologue "is meant to be distant."

    Are you sure that's such a good thing??? You don't want to distance your reader from your story. You want to draw her/him in, as quickly as possible, before they turn their attention to the million of other things they could do instead of reading your book.

  9. #9
    Jean Bonifacios

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    Does your Chapter 1 start off with dialogue and just dive in the story? I'm going to get jumped on with this but I only like prologues if it is explaining something in the past that directly involves the present. ie: Prologue about the Korean that got his medal ripped away four years ago for steroid use. Chapter 1 about the Korean losing the medal again today by screwing up on the vault knowing he is forever shamed in his country.

    That is the worst example in the history of WN but I drink on Fridays.

  10. #10

    Re: Comments and criticisms welcome...

    In the query letter you posted the other day, you said your novel was 215,000 words. Someone said that length might be a deal breaker and suggested you might consider breaking it into a series.

    Now you say this is a tale of two adventures, Part One. Are we to infer that in just a couple of days you've managed to separate your tome into two stand-alone stories?... because that's what you have to sell--the first part, as a self-contained story.

    One other point: after posting your prologue twice before for critiquing, you're running it up the flag pole again... and it's essentially the same. Whether you accept the criticisms offered to you is your business, but to continue flogging the same piece of narrative, well, it's like you're hoping for a different result.

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