You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Monday, March 21, 2011


Some people hate prologues.  Some people don't care about prologues.  And some people don't know what a prologue is.

I happen to like them.  They are like the fun little appetizer before the main course, and really, who doesn't like appetizers?  Especially if cheese is involved.

So anyway, I put a prologue in my novel.  I know, you are super excited to read it.  I'm gonna post it here because I entered it in a writing contest... yeah, I know.  Which means other people are supposed to visit the blogs of the writers in the contest and make comments.  You can say things like, "This is obviously the next great American novel."  Or, "I'm so intrigued!  I must read more!"  Or, "My God!  The imagery!  The awesomeness that is your written word!  I'm stunned by your talent."

Those are just a few suggestions to help in your critique.  You're welcome.

Author: Melinda Braun
Title: Starlight
Genre: YA sci-fi


“You damn girls are all the same!”

I didn’t reply, too relieved just to be able to breathe again, and now that I could the searing pain shot through me. I clutched my arm to my chest wondering if anything was broken.

“You think you can do whatever you want, say whatever you want, act however you want!”

Still I said nothing. With my good arm I reached behind my head, fingertips probing gently across my scalp, searching for the angry throb. My hair was sticky; the slick warmness confirmed my guess. Blood.

“Goddamn teases!”

I glanced up – the moon was so bright, so close, so huge in the night sky that for a second I thought I could reach out and grab it, use it as a shield. “I’m not teasing you.” Speaking felt strange. My face was numb, my left cheek still tingling from the force of his slap. My head ached, my elbow ached, my teeth ached, and now, sitting on the jagged outcropping of the bluff’s edge, so did my tailbone. “I’m not teasing you,” I repeated, wanting him to calm down. I needed him to calm down. Before it got any worse. But when I saw his face, so perverted with rage in the clear moonlight, I knew it was too late. It was going to get worse.

His smile was cruel. “No, you aren’t are you? Not like your little friend.”

He was big, much bigger than me. Thick neck, barreled chest. His forehead glistened with sweat and he licked at his lips, the gesture reminding me of some kind of reptile.

I shook my head. “No.”

“That’s right. You’re a good girl.” He staggered forward, still slightly drunk. Not drunk enough, I thought. I should have hit him harder the first time. I should have just kept on hitting him until he dropped.

I wasn’t drunk at all. If I had been, I probably wouldn’t have found myself in this situation, which I think a lot of people would consider ironic. I know I did.

He walked over the rocks to where I sat crumpled on the edge of the bluff. Ten feet. Nine.

I exhaled slowly through my nose.


Only four days ago my life had been perfectly normal, perfectly boring.


But I had promised myself that things would change.


And they did, just not the way I had planned.


The best laid plans of mice and men… I forgot how the rest of the sentence went. A wave of heat passed over my face.


I couldn’t see anything - everything went blue, hot electric neon blue. A strange voice shuddered through my brain. This is your last night on earth, Geneva.


My fingers were on fire, acid sparks shot across the surface of my tongue.


“Good girl,” he said softly, his voice floating somewhere above me. But he was wrong about that.

“I’m not a good girl,” I whispered.


He was about to find out exactly what kind of girl I was.

And so was I.


Kalen O'Donnell said...

Oh nice and intense. I know all the rules about prologues too, blah blah blah, but this one works for me. The ominous countdown as he closes the ten feet, the closing line...its a fantastic setup to the story. Maybe it is a bit of a cheat skipping straight to the action, but I'll allow it, lol. Especially with that killer last line that sets things up perfectly for the story to begin and see what kind of girl she is.

The only thing I would change is I feel you can find a different first line. Your closing is so great, that it deserves a stronger opening. 'They' also say not to open with dialogue, and on this one I have to side with the faceless masses, in this instance at least. Hunt around some. You're very witty, I can tell from your blog, and I know your MC can find some other way to introduce herself to readers at the top of a story.

Melinda Braun said...

Thank you, Kalen! Yes, I've heard about the dialogue no-no intro, and wondered if I was being too "in your face" right away, so thanks for telling me what you thought. Good luck in the contest.