Thursday, July 1, 2010

Working on prologues

Funny--okay, maybe I just think it's funny, but it is sort of funny those four posts I did a couple of years ago would turn into a workshop. I've done Running in the Dark three times, and each time, it gets bigger, smoother and more fun (for me. Yes, I'm a geek). It's a time-sink, no lie--but, wow. Love that thing.

I promised to do a workshop on prologue structure--probably the most controversial thing out there. You either love 'em or hate 'em, and I love prologues. Epilogues too. Although now that I'm writing the material, I've noticed all my workshops are very much...alike?

Running in the Dark is like some weird mish-mash of chaos theory, psychology, and "flow", crossed with a whole bunch of theoretical lit-stuff, and a healthy dollop of structural screenwriting. Not that it's static or anything, because the more work I do for my next youtube video, the better I get at explaining core events. And prologues are all the visual and deep pov things, with a lot of structure and stylistic things thrown in for good measure.

Prologues are like the clot at the center of a web--which is "not" a sexy way to put it and yeah--needs some work, but if you think of a prologue as an egg sac on a spider web--all the backstory, and what's going to happen next, and what happens later? All of it ties to the prologue. Or it should in a well constructed prologue. And it all needs to be visual. Hmmm, got to back that up--it needs to be visual if the story is mostly visual. If the story is very "internal" and by that I mean, done primarily in deep pov--unless the plot drives the story, the prologue should also be in deep pov, because then it syncs with, and sets up the rest of the story.

Trying to tie it into the greater whole is like a balancing act. A little structure, a little affirmation you aren't crazy for wanting to use a prologue (it's a style choice. I keep saying that, but only other people who use them nod), some visual stuff I'm taking from the screenwriters, a lot of mechanics.

The most important thing--and one I keep going back to--has got to be the "gap" between the last sentence and the first chapter. It's like the missing note in a piece of music. There, but implied. Shaped by what's around it. I need to think about it a little more, because I don't have the words.

I need to find some. And a better way to do this workshop. I might have to do a couple of power points.

No comments: