Author Topic: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION  (Read 841 times)  

Offline ShayneRutherford

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2018, 09:22:50 PM »
People complain about lots of things...

But if you don't think infodumps can be hooky, how about this as an example? Oh, I should mention - the infodump comes in the form of a prologue too.

I think by their very definition, infodumps are not hooky. If the information was presented in an interesting way, people wouldn't call it a dump.
     

Offline sceptique

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2018, 09:44:18 PM »
I think by their very definition, infodumps are not hooky. If the information was presented in an interesting way, people wouldn't call it a dump.

I agree.
I think the question should be "does it work as the first page of the book?"
If yes, then call it whatever you want. If not, then you've got a bigger problem to solve.
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Online Shelley K

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2018, 10:01:53 PM »

Whenever I read authors spouting so-called rules, I always check out multiple sources (and especially the bestseller authors' works) and determine for myself what's true.


Yep. I always pay more attention to what people do than what they say one should do (or even what they say they do). Surprising how often those things don't match up, far beyond writing but in life in general. Forget what's said by people too eager to tell you what they are. Watch them instead.

Offline Alix Adale

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2018, 10:32:05 PM »
I have read or listened to a 1,000 variants of this. Unless you have a strong hook in some phase, you're not producing compelling science fiction, at least at first blush. Backstory is boring.






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Online kw3000

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2018, 11:16:44 PM »
No. No. No. This is writing and in writing there are concrete rules that MUST be followed. Failure to follow these rules means you are not a writer, but merely a word-putter-downer.

1. No prologues. Ever.
2. No adverbs.
3. No writing on Saturday.
4. No outlining.
5. Only use prologues when you feel you must.
6. Use adverbs sparingly or excessively or moderately, but it has to be one of those three.
7. Write everyday.
8. Outline extensively.
9. Never use adverbs in your prologues, unless you have to.
10. Never outline on a Saturday, but also never not outline on weekends.
11. Never feed a Mogwai after midnight.
12. Do or do not, there is no try.
13. CCR is better than The Eagles everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.

Glad we've cleared that up.

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Online Shelley K

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2018, 12:13:41 AM »
No. No. No. This is writing and in writing there are concrete rules that MUST be followed. Failure to follow these rules means you are not a writer, but merely a word-putter-downer.

1. No prologues. Ever.
2. No adverbs.
3. No writing on Saturday.
4. No outlining.
5. Only use prologues when you feel you must.
6. Use adverbs sparingly or excessively or moderately, but it has to be one of those three.
7. Write everyday.
8. Outline extensively.
9. Never use adverbs in your prologues, unless you have to.
10. Never outline on a Saturday, but also never not outline on weekends.
11. Never feed a Mogwai after midnight.
12. Do or do not, there is no try.
13. CCR is better than The Eagles everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.

Glad we've cleared that up.

You've done it. You've uncovered the secrets.

Offline wheart

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2018, 12:21:44 AM »
11. Never feed a Mogwai after midnight.

Dang, I just broke this rule tonight! :(

Wait a minute ...

*goes to check the bestsellers list to see if any bestselling author has done this*
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 12:25:59 AM by wheart »

Offline Kenson

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2018, 12:38:32 AM »
I put a prologue in the first book of a trilogy.  I tried not to because I'd been told that prologues were 'bad'.  But by the time i got to about chap 3, the story needed some background that the central character simply didn't know.  So I extracted all the complicated flashbacks that weren't really working and put them in a prologue, and the whole story works better for it.
For what it's worth, I'm putting an epilogue at the end of the third book, to wrap up the loose ends after the main action has finished. But that's probably a whole different thread.
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Offline Jack Krenneck

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2018, 12:52:19 AM »
I think by their very definition, infodumps are not hooky. If the information was presented in an interesting way, people wouldn't call it a dump.

Well, that's an opinion.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that people should write infodumps. Just that it's possible to make them interesting and hooky. And I backed up my opinion with a pretty good example. Another example would be news stories (online or old-school). They're pure infodumps, and people lap them up.

Infodums have a bad name. So do prologues. So do adverbs. So does passive voice. So do lots of things. This is because they're often misused, but not because there's anything intrinsically wrong with them. It all comes down to execution.

Offline T E Scott Writer

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2018, 03:42:37 AM »
I love a good prologue.  But I actually don't have one for my almost-space-opera book that I'm currently writing.  I felt that because space operas were more action orientated (although this one is about a main character who suffers from anxiety issues, so isn't actually that action-y) it was more important to do the whole in media res thing.

T E Scott

Offline Tim C. Taylor

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2018, 04:30:51 AM »
I'm a reader and writer of space opera and I'm going to agree with a lot of other people here and say space opera prologues can work well, but they have to be compelling. If you're just feeding information to explain the setting, I would do that another way. Plenty of space opera readers enjoy figuring out how the fictional universe works without having it spoonfed. If you do want a quick initial infodump, one thing I saw that worked well was to present it almost like a book pitch with a story problem and call to action. Can't remember what book I'm thinking of now, but it was science fiction.

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Online Jena H

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2018, 05:11:43 AM »
No. No. No. This is writing and in writing there are concrete rules that MUST be followed. Failure to follow these rules means you are not a writer, but merely a word-putter-downer.

1. No prologues. Ever.
2. No adverbs.
3. No writing on Saturday.
4. No outlining.
5. Only use prologues when you feel you must.
6. Use adverbs sparingly or excessively or moderately, but it has to be one of those three.
7. Write everyday.
8. Outline extensively.
9. Never use adverbs in your prologues, unless you have to.
10. Never outline on a Saturday, but also never not outline on weekends.
11. Never feed a Mogwai after midnight.
12. Do or do not, there is no try.
13. CCR is better than The Eagles everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.

Glad we've cleared that up.

Welp, today's Saturday, so I guess I'll have to put my feet up and enjoy an adult beverage instead of sitting at my laptop.  Darn the luck!

And #13....   I'll drink to that.   8)
Jena

Offline Herefortheride

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2018, 06:15:27 AM »
Interesting stuff!!
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Offline Dean Kutzler

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2018, 09:22:23 AM »
 :o WOW! Thanks guys! There is seriously some awesome suggestions, clarifications and informative posts here! I appreciate that! I like them all and am seriously thinking about either just making it the 1st chapter so I can avoid it altogether and adding a prior date as someone suggested, then chapter two in the present or...Using the info in an enticing way in my marketing.

Really helpful (and some seriously funny shiznit) suggestions! Thanks again! :D
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Offline sceptique

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2018, 10:15:00 AM »
If you do want a quick initial infodump, one thing I saw that worked well was to present it almost like a book pitch with a story problem and call to action.

In my present book I've put all background info the reader needs to know into the blurb that goes onto the book's marketing page.
Three sentences. That's should be enough IMO to orient the reader in time and space before they begin at the beginning.
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Online dgcasey

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2018, 10:37:49 AM »
The current world (and story) I want to tell is the result of something that happened in the past. I didn't want to focus on the past by building it into the story. The bad event already happened and I may do a short story of it, but I really didn't want to clog up the action of this book.

I agree to go ahead and use a prologue if you want, especially in the manner which you did. I have a prologue at the beginning of Wicked Rising that is the same as what you alluded to. It happens in the past, before the main story begins. I'm not going to put it in the book as Chapter One, because then I'd probably have to start Chapter Two with "Five hundred years later ..." As a matter of fact, I put in the prologue and then a right side page that has the title of the book on it, then start with Chapter One. I can see the end of the third book in the trilogy having an epilogue when I'm finished.
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Online dgcasey

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2018, 10:42:17 AM »
Dang, I just broke this rule tonight! :(

Wait a minute ...

*goes to check the bestsellers list to see if any bestselling author has done this*

Just keep them darn critters away from the swimming pool.  ;)
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Offline Don DeBon

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2018, 10:46:51 AM »
In my humble opinion, write them as if it was your first chapter with a hook and good story telling not an info-dump.  Also make sure to write it so that it is an addition to the story that is great if there, but still makes sense if it isn't.  The reason I say this is: many people will SKIP over a prologue.  Therefore have it as a great appetizer but no problem if they skip to the main course.

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Offline wheart

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2018, 11:08:31 AM »
Just keep them darn critters away from the swimming pool.  ;)

Ack! Is this another dang rule?!! ??? :D

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Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2018, 11:26:25 AM »
 My first book had a prologue, a dream sequence. I didn't have a reason for it. I was just writing and it's how it came out. But then in editing peeps told me to take it out, so I did. It didn't hurt the story any. In fact, it likely made it better.

 My current story has thousands of years of history that it would be cool if the reader knew about, but I'm not info-dumping it. The readers will find out what they need to know when they need to know it. Like in life itself. We're all born into a world with billions of years of history, but nobody sits us down and tells it all to us. Even though a lot of stuff has happened that we prolly ought to know. We only find out stuff when we need to know it and lots of stuff we never learn at all.

 Just my three skittles. :)