So I just posted Class Warfare, which is the prologue of The War Orphan.
I used to hate prologue – this is pretty easy to understand, actually. The prologue to Lord of the Rings is an investment and a half, and for years and years, there was only ever one piece of consistent advice bandied around writer forums: Don’t do a prologue. What are you, crazy? Stop it! Stop it now!
Okay, fine, chill entire internet, I don’t really have a use for them.
[Okay, yes, some people have called the first chapter of Mirrorfall a prologue, because it’s separated in time from the rest of the story, but functionally…it’s not. I don’t think?]
However, I’m starting to become a fan of shorter prologues that do some heavy lifting in terms of laying out the world, whilst still doing a nice character piece, or tell their own breezy little adventure. There, done and gone in three thousand words or so.
So I thought…hey, maybe I could do something like that. So with very little trouble at all, I put together a prologue – the current results of which, you can read. (Go read it. 😛 ). It helps to lay out the world – establish that there are magical girls (or at least, used to be), and give some scale for the sense of destruction that the world has suffered.
But then this thing happened.
And it’s something that, if you know me at all, you could probably have seen coming a mile off.
I liked the character.
I have this problem when it comes to characters. For almost every character I include in a story – if there’s even a chance that we’ll see them again, I try to treat them like a real person. I try to figure out what they want, what they want, and how they fit into the larger picture.
Screen, dear Screen, is probably my most egregious example.
In the first published version of Mirrorfall, Screen had like one line – she was a character I had put in there…so that if Hollywood knocked on my door, I had a built-in cameo character.
In that first appearance, we learn two things. One, she’s fat – see picture below for me in all of my cuddly brilliance.
And two: she has purple hair, which is my favourite colour.
However, the next time I needed a Tech, I decided to use her again, because she had already been established, and I didn’t want to do that thing of making all secondary characters indistinguishable. (That really bugs me).
…a few more appearances, and she was out of my control. A real character, rather than just a vessel for me to cameo in.
And this happens over and over, characters that were supposed to be one-shots have developed lives and stories of their own. And I’m fine with that, I’ve embraced it as part of my writing style.
So I had this prologue written, with this character that I honestly wanted to explore further – but she couldn’t fit into the story of The War Orphan – so here comes my dumb idea.
Each book of the series (planned to be five books at the moment), will open with a prologue disconnected from the rest of the story – and then the next book will be about the prologue characters.
So book one prologue = book two protagonist, and so on.
(And I do already have an idea for book five, don’t worry, that’s sorted).
So that’s my ramble for the day. 😀