Monthly Archives: May 2010

Prologue or Epilogue? You be the judge.

Considering a Prologue or an Epilogue for your novel is like playing with guns. 

You need to point them in the right direction or you can get hurt.

A Prologue is a tricky little piece of business that, definition-wise, resides somewhere between a hook and seductive foreshadowing.

An Epilogue is like a soft kiss goodnight after a great orgasm, tying up loose ends, explaining what just happened and sending the reader away totally satisfied, yet perhaps yearning for more, maybe even with a tiny knot of anxiety remaining.

Sometimes, if read as isolated chapters, you can’t tell the difference. 

What follows here is one or the other.  A Prologue or an Epilogue.  It’s from a recently published novel — mine. 

I won’t tell whether it’s a Prologue or an Epilogue.  The idea is… you tell me.

If it’s the former, I hope it hooks you.  If it’s the latter, I hope it makes you tingle.

Prologue/Epilogue from “Whisper of the Seventh Thunder”

We are watching you.

As it has been since your innocence was eternally withdrawn, we are at your side.

We are not flesh, though when summoned we may assume your transient form, and it is then we are reminded of your blessings, the gifts of sensation and perception.  Our substance transcends thought, though more often than you know your inner voice is the quiet echo of our prayers.  Nor are we simply the stuff of dreams, though in dreams we show you truth in mirrors of what you already know.   

We are essence, born of physics beyond your comprehension, purer and swifter than light in the vacuum of space.

We move among you.  We are the soft edge of shadow at the periphery of sight, though as you turn we are already gone.  On occasion you hear our footfalls, masked within the rattling of your own disbelief.  When you sense in your heart that you are not alone, rest assured you are not.  Know that the occasional random notion or unprompted memory is neither random nor unprompted.  We are the architects of what you assign to coincidence.  You will come to understand there is no such thing. 

We witness the consequence of your desire, and sometimes we must weep.  We know your suffering and exalt your joys as if they are our own, as indeed they are.  We know your destiny but not your fate – one was written in sand at the dawn of time, the other is yours to etch onto the tablet of your own will.  The two embrace, and the dance is life itself. 

We are bit players in the drama of your days.

Know this, and take caution: others dwell in shadow, denied the Light.  They know your yearning, and would use it to mark your soul.  And thus the battle is waged.

You call us angels or ghosts or other names which are neither right nor wrong, yet despite this veiled awareness your scholars write us off as lore or imagination.  But like much of what has been written, they are misled.  We are real, as tangible as the unseen air that sustains you.

We are witness and scribe to all that you do.  We are with you always.

And upon occasion, we are obliged to intervene.

Whisper of the Seventh Thunder

If this did indeed hook you, you can read more about the novel HERE (the “Fact and Fiction” tab is especially interesting)… or you can read reviews and, if you’re still hooked, order it HERE.  With my abundant gratitude.

Coming Monday: we kickoff the deconstruction of “An Education” (the film).  And, the “winner” of Wednesday’s little workplay contest.


Filed under Write better (tips and techniques)

A Quick Wordplay Challenge. Fun. Prizes.

Let’s have some fun.

Last night I was watching an episode of The United States of Tara, Showtime’s brilliant Spielberg-produced series starring Toni Collette as a wife afflicted with multiple personalities.

Yeah, like that never happens.

What I saw that inspired today’s idea had nothing to do with the story.  As a background piece of business, an artist character was working on a series of framed posters that took a normal word and broke it into two syllables which, when viewed as two words, had a completely separate and clever meaning.

Like the word warhead, for example.  Split it, and you get war head.  

The image you get from the whole word is a bomb.  The image you get from the separate word is the face of Donald Rumsfeld.

And that’s when it came to me.  This is cool.  I began playing with other words and found the exercise sort of fun.  Not only by coming up with splitable words, but with sarcastic little defintions that apply to the new creation.

Like the word carpet, for example.  Split it into car pet, and you get the image of a dog sticking its snout out the window of a moving vehicle.

Or the word earnest, which, when split into ear nest, brings to mind an image of the stuff growing out of the side of Larry King’s head.

Or — one more example — the word panache.  Split into pan ache, you have the feeling you get when your wife smacks you upside the head with a skillet.

You get the drift.

So here’s the challenge:

Give us your best shot at this.  Or shots.

Come up with a word that can be split into two syllables that, when viewed as a pair of words, have a completely separate meaning than the original word.

To spice things up, I’ll be “judging” not only the cleverness of the word(s) choice, but also the clever defintion of the new term (see examples above) as well. 

Two more examples. 

The word subdue splits into sub due: what happens when you promise someone a sandwich and it’s time to pay up.

The word sublime splits into sub lime: what you stuff into a bottle of Corona beer while traveling in a submarine.  Really.

Okay, not exactly Jim Carey, but you get the drift.

Put your best shot(s) in the Comment thread, and I’ll announce the “winner” next Monday.

Winner of what?  One of my ebooks (your choice) to the first three places.  And bragging rights. 

Tell your friends, everyone is welcome, so let’s have some fun with this.

And remember, on Monday we begin our deconstruction of An Education, a character-driven Oscar-nominated film that teaches us much about story structure in films and novels in which nobody gets blown up or kidnapped.  Just seduced and betrayed.

Donut.  Do nut.  Anybody got a one-liner that one?


Filed under other cool stuff