Which Prologue Is Groovier? “Damaged in Service” vs. “Last Chance at the Lost and Found”

25 08 2011

Today, we are comparing prologues from two books: “Damaged in Service” by Barrett and “Last Chance at the Lost and Found” by Marcia Finical.

WHICH PROLOGUE IS GROOVIER? The one from “Damaged in Service.”

“Damaged in Service” opens with a prologue. Often, that’s a strike (look for a blog post soon on whether to prologue or not to prologue). “Ohhhh boy,” was my thought when I realized the book had a prologue. Prologues irritate many people, and many people skip the prologues. Worst are the prologues that go on and on for pages. This prologue seems to work, though. For one thing, it is short, and there is a character whose head I can get into and identify with.

A seeming negative (at least for me) is the use of “she” for a bit too long with no noun identifier/no name. (See where it bothered me in “Above All, Honor”.) However, it doesn’t bother me here in “Damaged in Service”; the scene was set well, this person is the only character in the prologue, and she is in a scary situation. I can immediately put myself in her place, and I might not have done so as readily if she had been identified by name up front. In the other book, there was no mystery, and the nameless character was being reamed out by her boss.

Another seeming negative: After a few paragraphs, the character wakes up. She has been in bed. This usually is cause for another “Ohhhh boy” from me. (See Nathan Bransford’s blog post here on five openings to avoid: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/06/five-openings-to-avoid.html). However, this aspect doesn’t much bother me in this prologue, perhaps because this is not a mere dream. These events happened, and that creates a hook and sets the stage. The author seems to have approached this prologue deliberately and has reasons for each of its elements.

However, the italics are a bit of a problem, especially when they necessitate having the character’s thoughts show up as regular text (instead of italics). For the prologue, I would have used a different font instead of using italics.

Now, about the prologue of “Last Chance at the Lost and Found.” It IS intriguing in its own way. It definitely is short and snappy. Its main flaw is that compared with the beginning of Chapter One, Chapter One shines and grabs attention much better. One issue I had was this prologue was mostly “tell” and not “show.” There is really no character to connect with. Chapter One is a much stronger, dare I say, SMASHING, opening. This book just might have done better to nix the prologue.

What do you think? Vote!




One response

25 08 2011
New First page challenge « Words of Barrett

[…] qkelly strikes again […]

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