This is the first thirteen lines of my book Reaver. It's a young adult urban fantasy. I'm running through my second edit before sending out query letters. Anyone else at the query writing stage? I'd love to see a section where we could edit queries!
Anyway, let me know what you think! Thanks!
Reaver Prologue: Watchers
There was a soft knock at the door. Not his door, but the door he’d been seeing in his dreams for the last month. It was the little brother.
“Sam, can I sleep in your bed?” The little brother was tall and lanky and couldn’t have been older than ten.
“The nightmare again?” she asked, her voice muffled in her pillow, one eye peeking out at the boy hovering in her doorway. The little brother nodded.
She groaned a little and pulled the covers back. The little brother padded across the bare floor and dove into the bed.
“Seriously, though. You’re getting too old for this.” Her voice was groggy, faded like it came from a dream.
This was a dream, he reminded himself. One he’d had too many nights in a row.
Okay, this is a cliche dream opening, but I think it works. I have a feeling that dreaming is important to the plot of this book, and I like how you let us know from the begining that this is a dream.
Good interaction between the brother and sister, but the MC is very passive. I know he is dreaming, but maybe it would be better if we were seeing this through his eyes so that we can get a hint of how he is connected to the people.
I'd be willing to look at the whole prologue if you'd like more feedback.
MAP, that would be fantastic. I'm still new, so this might be a stupid question, but how should I send you the prologue? If you would like, you can email me at Patriciap1234@hotmail.com and I'll send the prologue in the body of a reply email. Would that work? Thank you so much!
Oh, and the offer still stands if you need someone to read your first chapter. I've got my hands full with small children so I probably won't offer this often, but in your case I'd be all over it if you needed more feedback! It's probably just a selfish desire on my part to know what happens with Caylen and Petri, but isn't that what you were aiming for?
[This message has been edited by TrishaH24 (edited February 26, 2010).]
In my experience, "cliche" just means that the thing works, but has been overused. If you can justify and use a cliche well, then more power to you. I believe that you have used this well in this instance.
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While I am in agreement that dream openings can work I'm having some trouble following this sequence. It may be because this is your prologue, and it is supposed to be purposefully vague. Here are some of my observations that struck me as I first read through:
1)I found your choice of the little brother intriguing. As opposed to what I expect should read as her little brother. I am curious to know more about this "little brother" because right now, by your using the, I see this character as an "it" rather than a person. Perhaps something mechanical or otherworldly. I would read on to find out, so good hook there.
2)Is it plausible for a he to dream as a she?
quote:...the door he’d been seeing in his dreams...
Seeing, touching, hearing things as a she?
quote:The little brother was tall and lanky.../...her voice muffled in her pillow
Now of course anything should be possible in a writer's world, keeping in mind suspension of disbelief, and since this is a prologue I would expect (and there may be) clarification in the body of the novel. As an extreme example: I would find it impossible that I could dream about being a woman giving birth to a child. Somehow, I think, even in dreams, one has to know something of the real world. Now, if this is actually a past-life memory, or "experiencing life through another's eyes" because of an eye transplant or psychic connection, well that would be different. But, again, you used the word dream(s) so my take may be wholly wrong. I would expect the author to confirm or deny my take within the narrative.
quote:The little brother was tall and lanky and couldn’t have been older than ten.
This sentence doesn't make sense to me. To use the phrase "couldn't have been" suggests something is obvious. I didn't see a tall ten year old boy as obvious, I see it as unusual.
[This message has been edited by Edward Douglas (edited February 27, 2010).]
Thanks for the input Edward, I appreciate it!
First, I will probably cut the descriptive about the little brother being tall and lanky. I see what you mean. I guess it was one of those things that felt right at the time but doesn't now that you've put things into perspective.
Second, I wrote this prologue to give meaning to two things that become very important later in the novel. One is a connection between the "he" and the girl he's watching, Sam. (I don't name him for a few reasons, one being he is not the MC throughout the novel, the other being he wouldn't exactly reflect on himself, even to the point of giving himself a name. I wanted to maintain a very limited third person view since the rest of the book is in first person.) The other thing I wanted to establish here was the relationship between Sam and her little brother--which is in fact a person, by the way.
The reason I called him "the little brother" is because this is not a person known to the guy having the dream. He's spent a month dreaming about this girl's life and has had enough time to piece together that this is her little brother, but not what his name is. There is no intamacy between the dreamer and his subjects. Because, as you surmised, this is a kind of psychic dream, which becomes clear (I hope!) in the next couple of paragraphs.
Yes, I wanted this to be vague, but not to the point of severe confusion. I was hoping the vagueness would be the hook. If I've failed and lost my audience, I will probably have to go back and overhaul the prologue.
Thanks again for the input! It's great to see how others read it, and helps immensely!
Sorry I read "the little brother" incorrectly, but my mind saw it as meaning something it obviously did not. I'm sure I would have been found wrong by reading more and adjusted. One way to make your point clearer is to perhaps italicize. Example: That would be the little brother. Then the disconnect between the dreamer and the brother would stand out better, I think.
If I may offer one technique I use when I intend to work a prologue into one of my novels. I work on it as I right the book, modifying it as I move along. Adding to, detracting from, etc. This has helped me reduce the length of my prologue (I was finding some to be about as lengthy as some chapters were). Also, I have actually been able to exclude a prologue completely, finding (often to my surprise) that I had cleverly inserted the backstory into the narrative.
I think I will italicize the "little brother" part. You're right, I do need some sort of disconnect between the two. Thank you for that, it's a wonderful idea.
I wrote the prologue (as I usually do) after the book was finished. I try to take notes as I go through my first edit and come up with a prologue after the fact. I have written books without prologues, but I'm one of those people who enjoys a good prologue now and then.
Thanks again for the advice. You've given me some things I can use and that's exactly what I was hoping for when I posted.