Welcome to Part 4 of my mini-series on my love for prologues, and where I’m giving you a bit of an insight into how I use them, and what they do to add that bit extra to the reading experience.
There’s a couple of things I’ve not yet mentioned in this mini-series about prologues and the functions they can serve. For me, certainly in today’s extract, these two functions go hand-in-hand. One is the way they can set the tone of the book. The extract in this post is from Show Me Dead, a suspense thriller which adopts elements of the Gothic to set its tone, and certainly also skirts the borders of horror. You’ll see that I use physical darkness in the prologue to allow the main character’s imagination and memory to run amok and reveal some of her darkest secrets, right from the beginning. The book itself allows her to explain why over the course of the story.
The other function this particular prologue serves is more of a narrative, structural device. I don’t want to say anything about the story itself in too much detail here, because I don’t want to spoil the book if you’ve not yet read it, but the device I’m talking about here is the cyclic structure. This involves beginning a book in a particular place (either physically or psychologically) and developing the story in such a way that, by the end, the structure of the story has returned to the place it started – but with massive changes. It really hits home to the reader, then, how the character has changed as a consequence of the events in the book. The prologue used this way portrays something one way in order for it to be clear that this specific ‘something’ is very different by the end of the book, or has been adapted to create a hugely different feel to the tone, or possibly even an extension of, or a complete twist on, the prologue.
As we are less than a month away from International Women’s Day as I write this, I felt it appropriate to include Angel, a character I grew to love and respect, and admire more than I can say. I traced her story through some of the most horrendous incidents imaginable. Of all my female characters so far, she stands apart as determined, resilient, and an example of strength – if a somewhat dark one (I have tears in my eyes while I’m writing this. You can tell how strongly I feel about my characters, and Angel in particular). If you have already met the character of Angel, I hope you love her. If you haven’t, then I hope she intrigues you.
Please note that, as my extracts are crime-related books or dark fiction of some kind, they are suitable for an adult readership. Please read responsibly.
Claire[Read more…] about Show Me Dead: Read an Extract (Do You Love Prologues?, Part 4)