Monday, December 28, 2009
A Prologue & A Blue Moon
The moon is trying very hard now to do something very rare - be full twice in the same month. This second full moon will happen on December 31st so we will have a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve! Sky watchers calculate that the next time this will happen is way off in 2028. What will the world, your world anyway, be like on New Year's Eve 2028?
I finished moving yesterday. While unpacking a box of books, I found an old bookmark given to me by someone very dear. It is a curved pointer made of brass with a red tassel and inscribed with one of George Sand's most memorable quotes: "There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved." Naturally, it was hiding inside a Jayne Ann Krentz novel. One of the reasons I like reading her novels is that she writes the best, most interesting prologues of just about anyone in the business. If you get the chance to read one of her novels, go ahead and give it a try. Read the prologue. You'll be glad you did.
Speaking of prologues, I have had the hardest time writing one for this novel I've been working on since September. I completed the first draft of this beast in three weeks writing out 387 pages in longhand in two different composition books. The second draft just about killed me. In order to be true to the story, I had to do some re-plotting. Wouldn't you know that one of secondary characters had stolen the story about the time I started the second of the 99 cent composition books. That character is a dying matriarch. She sustains and unifies her family, and tries to prepare them for the difficult times that will come once she's gone.
The larger story is a Southern Gothic flavored romance. Now that the third draft is finished, Flannery O'Connor's mischievous flock (faith, grace and redemption) perch on the branches of my story and sing till the sun goes down. Not too loudly, of course, just enough to get someone to go out and refill the metaphorical suet cake feeder out back.
This story needs one more pass through the draft to be right with the world. What it needs most of all is a prologue that hits the mark. Have you ever had something you've worked on that just doesn't feel right to you and you just have to keep working at getting it right?
That is this story. Another quote from George Sand seems to say something scary about "authorship"; that is, "The trade of authorship is a violent, and indestructible obsession." Does anyone else get this feeling about their creative work?