View Full Version : Critique: Looking for opinions on a prologue
June 4th, 2006, 09:59 PM
I'm writing a fantasy novel and I'd like some opinions/comments/criticism on the prologue.
You can find it at:
I'll accept anything, so don't be afraid to be harsh.
Thanks in advance.
June 8th, 2006, 10:59 PM
Pretty good, but with several problems.
First, is pace. At the beginning, it feels as though we're seeing events as they occur, but when the battle in the plaza starts, the story becomes a summary of events that obviously took place over several weeks or months.
Second, this shouldn't be a prologue. You easily have enough material to turn this into a full-length novel, a type of prelude to a series.
Third, there's no character development- no one changes, or begins to change, over the course of the story. Plus, you don't tell us why when it comes to many things- why does the Divine want to change a society that keeps him in almost absolute power? Why is Tubal such a good fighter.
Beyond that, you throw a lot of new things and new ideas out at readers within the first few pages- and then don't go into much detail on it. Take the Shartachers, for example. They're supposed to be these big, hulking, fighting machines, correct? But becasuse you don't describe their visage or capabilities, readers develop no sense of dread of Shartachers themselves, nor fear for the survival and victory of Tubal.
One thing you might be going for is the type of opening where the end is before the beginning, but if you go that route, you'll have to take a lot out to keep the sense of suspense of 'how this happen, how did they get there'.
Overall, it's a pretty good yarn, like I said. Needs work, but the premise is interesting.
June 11th, 2006, 09:28 PM
first of all thanks for taking the time to read it and to reply. I really appreciate it.
I'm glad you liked it and you make some good points.
There is a change of pace from when Tubal starts his fight and the beginning of the journey of the Mordasal in the desert, but it's by design. Being this a prologue, I don't want to give away too much of the story at this point. All your questions are very legitimate (what are the Shartachers? Why Tubal is such a good fighter? Etc) and are meant to be answered during the course of the novel.
I guess my next question to you (as a reader) would be: should you read this prologue in a book you buy, would you be intrigued by it and want to keep reading the novel? Or you would be more annoyed by the fact that many questions are unanswered and drop it?
This is the first time I write something in the fantasy genre, and I'm starting to understand one of the challenges I'll have if I keep at it. I have a precise outline of what I want to tell in the novel and I think it's very interesting, but at the same time I have to make sure I unravel it in the right manner so that the reader are satisfied enough to keep reading.
As per having more then enough for a novel not just a prologue, at this point I'm more interested in building a world more complex then Tubal's society. The Mordasal journey in a land with which their people hadn't have contact for thousands of years will allow me to do that.
As per character development, I plan to have it as the story unravels. When the story will go back to Tubal's world many things will have changed, including the main actors.
Thanks again for your feedback.
June 11th, 2006, 11:43 PM
No problem about giving feedback.
As for your question about putting it down or buying- well, I'd have to say no.
But- and this is a very big but- you have to remember two things.
When people go into a bookstore and look for someting new, they are attracted first by the cover- this is why so many covers feature dynamic and colorful are- and usually battles or warriors for scifi and fantasy.
When those same people pick up a book, whether to buy it or leave it is based on one thing and one thing alone- the blurb. A Prologue is utterly pointless in the respect of getting people interested- in fact, many readers don't read prologues at all.
Now, from what you say you want your prologue to do, you strike me as someone who wants to do what Robert Jordan did with the prologue to the Wheel of Time series, which does two things very well:
1. It focuses on one event and follows that event for the entirety of the prologue.. While other things that bought the characters to this point are hinted at, the prose stays tightly locked one, singular occurance.
2. Said event is epic. For the whole piece, it felt like something important, vital was happening- it was riveting.
This is, in my opinion, an example of a well-done prologue- and the events of the actual series take place 3,000 years afterward, so that the only real significant thing that happened is at the very end of the prologue. What then, does it serve to do? Immerision. Reading it pulled into the world Jordan had created, without having to spend twenty pages explaining the magic or the governments, or anything at all.
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