It seems that I always know where a story begins.
I’ve already written a book. It remains unpublished and possibly, if I’m being completely honest, unworthy of publication. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But something deep in my bones tells me that first novels aren’t for general reading. First novels are almost an exercise into how to craft a story into becoming a novel.
I learnt so much writing it. It’s hard to explain specifically what… Planning was a big thing. The first book I wrote, or at least the story and characters, were alive in my head for many years before actually putting fingers to keys. So when it came to formatting it into a coherent and exciting story, I sort of winged it; it was quite a fluid exercise and I think in retrospect it feels it. The story is a little… how shall I put it… woolly.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, but I think if I had planned more accurately then I would be more pleased with it; and you might even be reading it!
My point, and I do have one, is that I wouldn’t be writing the book I am today if I hadn’t gone through the conception, development, characterisation, setting, research and general plot twisting-iness of that novel.
What both novels share is a common denominator in their prologues; and that similarity is that they were the first things I ever wrote for both stories, and they both remained untouched throughout the entire writing process.
It seems almost barking mad that the first thing you write for a story lives up to the complexities and scrutinies of the book as a whole. But for me, they do; or at least they do so far…
In this prologue, Crystal is a young child and she builds a snowman. It seems so simple. And it is. But the best things usually are.
For me, the prologue works because it is a tiny taster of where this story will go. But more than that there is some in-built imagery which I think is just as powerful as the story itself. After all, what is a book if not a way to paint a picture with words?
I think stories are an incredibly illustrative medium. Sometimes in developing a story I may just have an image in my head of a particular scene, or character, or setting, or all of the above. And the whole narrative is just an excuse to get to that picture.
This prologue is strong because of that image of Crystal standing back and looking at the snowman she has built. All on her own, I must add, which to me really emphasises how strong she is, even at such a young age.
Although, my favourite image is the look on her face when that white, wet hand rests on her shoulder. Her mouth wide open for all the flies in Wales to fly into and buzz around for a moment whilst she gathers herself.
Even though it isn’t described here, in my head the snowman smiles down at her. Which I think is even more exciting! (It isn’t described for good reason, and you may take that as a teeny teaser!)
The prologue is short, it’s even quite basic. There isn’t too much detail; on the other hand I think you do get a feel for the house, and for the family that live there, and for Crystal herself. There’s lots of miniature moments; mini-mos if you will.
And I’m starting to understand my writing style in that these mini-mos may be insignificant and just add pretty colour to the scene; or they may just be of the utmost importance.
I wonder if this prologue will change over the course of finishing this novel?