I Wrote the Greatest Prologue Ever

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I have always had confidence in my work. Even when I write junk I still see the shiny light. Kind of like the worlds ugliest puppy being loved by her mother.

Some may view this as arrogant, cocky or full of myself and, I must say, I agree. But I have always felt we need a touch of arrogance floating through our veins otherwise fear and doubt and all that other nasty stuff will take over.

Why do you hate me?

For those who have been around me since I started this writing gig it should come as no surprise how shocked I was when the greatest prologue ever fell flat.

The scene was perfect. The writing was fun. The opening began in a small church in the middle of a small town. A local resident had passed and a local gathering of family and friends had come together.

Two little ladies sat in the back giggling and gossiping like local school girls.

Of course it doesn’t work. Who cares?

Did it have anything to do with the story? No. Were they seen again? No. So why do we need this?

Why so many questions?

Looking back I should have put a leash on my sharp tongue but when a group of writers challenge you with questions that are hard to answer one tends to get a little grumpy.

I’m sure I could have found a future for these loveable characters but I held my ground and demanded their short visit would stay. As you can see, listening wasn’t always my thing.

The characters were likable, I argued. Their scenes were real. The dialog sharp. Come on people, what’s not to love!

Yes, I was shouting.

Maybe, just maybe, I was wrong.

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But sometimes confidence, or in this case stubbornness, can turn a writer blind.

So what did I do when I realized I might be wrong? First there was denial, followed by anger, bargaining was in the mix and so was depression. Finally, after a while, acceptance.

When I think about it this all makes sense with the scene opening in a funeral, doesn’t it.   

I will rebuild her.

Not long after I scratched the prologue I made myself a deal: Just because the scene is out doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.

I can always create a novel centering on these two little ladies. I could add a funeral and create the biggest backstory on the dead character the world has ever seen.

Now my greatest prologue ever is safely tucked away. Sure, the home I placed it in didn’t exactly work but someday I’ll find them a better place.

As for you, my dear friends, hang on to those early drafts. Something special may await between those lost words and broken homes. 

ladies

39 thoughts on “I Wrote the Greatest Prologue Ever

  1. I am so grateful to you for your post today, Bryan. Not for the advice — that, I usually already take, But everything you so wisely said leading up to your “keep your drafts” advice resonates with me, sharpens — at the least sharpens — my awareness of the traps and such in the writing process.

    We do so often cling to what must be put aside.

    I recently — quite recently — experienced something like what you did with your prologue. Basically, I wrote my first — and almost certainly my last — novella length poem. About the real life murder of a young woman who I employed 26 years ago by her possessive boyfriend. But the first draft of it — which I was fool to post on my blog — sucked. Why? It was two things wrapped in one, and the two were almost wholly irrelevant to each other.

    The problem was — predictable to you yourself — that the thing irrelevant to the young woman’s tragedy was also quite funny, witty, meaningful, and so forth in my eyes. Comic relief for a dark poem.

    Took some open heart surgery performed with a few kitchen utensils to cut out that part, and then go on to re-write my novella start to finish. But it’s such a better poem now.

    Thank you again for your resonating post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul – First of all I am so sorry for your former employee. What a terrible topic to have to write about. I admire your courage. I also admire how you took a step back, reworked it and wrote it the way it was meant to be.

      I’m happy my post connected with you. That means a lot. I really appreciate that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your empathy, Bryan. Much appreciated.

        The poem represents the first time I have gone into any great deal trying to make sense of the events — outside of my own mental efforts. Until now, I haven’t told even my closest friends this much about it.

        Which makes it very curious to me the poem came out quickly — just ten days of working about seven to nine hours a day. I think that’s pretty damn quick for a novella.

        I can only imagine, the thing had been gestating in my subconscious for ages.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, i’d say most writers who ask for others opinion will go through that denial/anger/bargaining/depression stage. But if at the end you do see the wisdom of the opinion, you also know your work is better because you did listen. And yeah, you always get to choose between going back and re-writing something entirely new based on those church ladies.
    And i agree with Miss Alan – post the prologue and let us decide!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will do it, Jina. My little church ladies will make their appearance. What have I gotten myself in to/ 🙂

      You nailed it on listening. I am happy that I somehow turned my weakness into a strength.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They sound delightful, and I bet they have at least one story to tell. Think of the history they might share and all the things they have seen…

        Like

  3. With the exception of some files lost due to catastrophic laptop failures (which I now avoid with redundant backups), I save everything. If I liked it enough to write it, I might find a use for it someday.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how you eventually use this brilliant prologue.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure what the problem was with the church ladies–I think it sounds very intriguing: Why are they giggling at a funeral? What’s so funny? Did they have anything to do with the death? Ken and I once went to his great-uncle’s funeral not long after seeing an episode of a comedy show where a guy builds his own coffin and he’s so proud of it. At the funeral, we went up to the casket, and Ken whispered, “That’s fine quality workmanship, that is” and we both just about died trying not to laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks like I will be placing their little experience in Friday’s blog. Just a tad nervous, mind you.

      As for your experience: For some strange reason funerals can cause the giggles. Crazy, isn’t it. I like Ken’s reply. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like this line Bryan:
    “But I have always felt we need a touch of arrogance floating through our veins otherwise fear and doubt and all that other nasty stuff will take over.”
    I only told one person about my blog for the longest time and that was my neighbor who suggested I begin a blog. I was not ready for a critique. But the more blog posts I had under my belt, the more relaxed I was about putting “anything” out there – it is a heady feeling. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m quite the opposite. It’s rare that I write something and don’t hate it, no matter how much time I spend revising. On the occasion that I think, “Wow, this is pretty good,” it’s usually pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

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