Having written just under 1000 words, I’ve now discovered that those words are… erm… wrong! No matter – there is an old adage that states that ‘writing is rewriting’. Sometimes, problems only become visible when an initial run is made on some text and there are two problems that have already come to light…
The Story So Far…
The main character. Drew, gets drunk and visits a large roundabout in the middle of the night… There, he falls asleep. He is awoken by a bright light and subsequently witnesses the crash of an alien space ship. Drew then rides off to the crash site
… and adventure! Huzzah!
I’m trying to write something that is accessable to a wide audience and, while I personally think that science fiction is a wonderful, imaginative, exciting genre, I’m aware that many others don’t share my enthusiasm. Milk Teeth is supposed to be a character driven comedy with elements of science fiction, possibly horror, that will serve as a motivating factor in the novel… Milk Teeth isn’t exactly the next Star Wars!
It’s essentially Red Dwarf but with prams and nappies instead of space travel and lazers… This Red Dwarf clip will give you an idea of the tone of comic dialogue that I’m looking for when all the main characters come into play.
I hope you’ll agree that, while the setting of Red Dwarf is very ‘sci-fi’, the actual dialogue is very down to earth and therefore accessable. While Milk Teeth will have some aliens running around in it, my story is set in the very here and now world, with real life people and real life problems – it’s those things that the novel is really about!
The problem with my current prologue is one of tone – the everyday aspect of the story just doesn’t shine through the introduction. I have set my stall up wrong - with a lot of science fiction elements right from the word go. My aim should be to excite the casual reader with the story of Drew and get him / her hooked on Drew’s everyday life… then rock the boat a little with some more fantastic elements that will serve as catalysts within the story – NOT as the major selling points for the novel.
The roundabout is an important metaphor within the story, so I want to flag that up from the very beginning. The prologue must therefore reference Drew on the roundabout, after which chapter one will jump back a week so that we can see Drew in his natural world… This is where the work will be done to make everyone fall in love with Drew enough to want to see him through all that ‘sci-fi stuff’.
The solution seems obvious now… Simply spend the prologue focusing on the roundabout scene right up to the moment when the ‘alien slug thing’ arrives… Cut really quickly before the reader really knows what this mystery light in the sky is, and we’re all ready for chapter one…!
Roundabout metaphor referenced ? CHECK!
Early fantasy elements avoided ? CHECK!
Additional bonus – the prologue creates a great hook for the reader. What is the light ?
I’m going to rattle on with chapter one now, leaving the prologue ‘as is’ for the moment. When I’ve finished accounting the week before the roundabout incident, I should be in a better place to rewrite it.