Thursday, July 7, 2011

"BLENDED", THE SEQUEL - To Prologue or Not To Prologue Revisited

The great prologue debate....

I have revisited this post and revamped it after more research and added my final decision towards the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

So finally, the muse is back and I'm working on the sequel to Winter's Captive, tentatively called Blended.

The first dilema I came across was,  do I write a prologue or not. There are so many sites on line discussing this subject and none of them agree. I did a lot of on line research on this subject and this is what I found.

Here is the "DON'T use a prologue" reasons list:

1. Can be boring to the reader and lead them away from the actual story if not done right.
2. Decide if it is really necessary, can you fit it into Chapter 1?
3. Newbies use them because they don't know how to backstory in Chapter 1 with set-up information.
4. More than five pages is too long, write a chapter.
5. Under five pages is too short, not necessary.
6. Agents hate them.

Here's the "YES, use a prologue" reasons list.

1. Too much backstory in Chapter 1 is boring and takes the reader away from the actual story, use a prologue.
2. If the timeline is earlier than Chapter 1, use a prologue.
3. If you need to move into the sequel, referencing some details from the first book, use a prologue because
    the sequel should stand alone without repeating too much information from the first book.

This was all very confusing to me and in the end I decided to use a prologue because the timeline is later than the original story but earlier than the beginning of the sequel. After much debate with myself, I decided a prologue was necessary to set up the start of the sequel without conflicting timelines and too much backstory in Chapter 1, which could bog down the story and bore the reader.

Once I decided on using a prologue, I engaged in more on line research on how to write a prologue and became even more confused.

Here is some of what I found:

1. A prologue should not be more than one and half pages.
2. A prologue should be at least five pages or it is too short and redundant.
3. A prologue can be as long as you need it to be to do its job.
4. Just call it "Prologue".
5. Don't call it anything.
6. You can give it a name if you wish.
7. Length and to name or not to name is up to the author (and ultimately, the agent or publisher).

What did I do?

I opted to use a prologue but didn't call it anything. I don't really like the sound of the word "prologue" and I think it was more dramatic to start the piece right at the first sentence and italicize the whole thing.

My prologue is eight and half pages long, what I felt it took to set up my storyline for the sequel.

Then I decided to go straight to the readers and see what they think of prologues. Okay, so most hate them, most skip over them. Sometimes if the book grabs hold of them, they will go back and read it. Most like them short. I thought eight pages was short, but some think that is long. My husband just started a new book with a prologue that is one and half pages. He loved it. Short, sweet, and to the point. I can't see my prologue edited down to two pages. There is too much going on there. So...

Alright, so I have rethought my position and decided to scrap the prologue and start the sequel at Chapter 1 at a later date than the original book. Perhaps the prologue will be rewritten into another chapter further on in a different light. Perhaps it will be scrapped altogether and will become an exercise in writing.

I'm happy with the outcome but I must say, this writing business is exhausting. But now that I have solved my dilema of to prologue or not to prologue I can get on with the sequel.

What did I learn most from all of this? It keeps coming back to the same old thing - you are the author, do what feels right for the story and what you are happy with. If that means breaking "the rules", go ahead and break them. Feels good.

Now its your turn. Do you like prologues or not? Would you use one? What about backstory in a chapter? What do you think the ideal length of a prologue should be?

Have a great writing week and keep on keeping on writing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WINTER'S CAPTIVE - FINAL PROOF EDITS final proof arrived and it took me a week to proof it and get it back to my editor. I can't believe it is all done. Any mistakes I missed are there forever now LOL. I, also, received my media release and fact sheet for proofing, and my final cover. So exciting. That part is all behind me.

Now, the marketing begins. And, I have been listed on Barnes and Nobel, for pre-orders with an October 15, 2011 release date. So cool!

So much to share this post. I had my first web-based interview. I will copy/paste below so you can read it and get to know me a little better.

I have been getting lots of hits on my blogsite lately so I know you are out there. Please leave a comment or if you have a blogsite leave me a link so I can join you out there.

Here's the interview...

 Interview with June Bourgo, June 27, 2011
Here is the wonderful June Bourgo and her wonderful book Winter's Captive that is due out in October this year.

Hi June, welcome to the Adventures of Molly Mavis Gumnut Blog.

Thanks so much for having me, Trish.

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

First, I was born and raised in Montreal. I moved west in my late teens. I love BC. Victoria and Vancouver are beautiful cities. I can enjoy the sophistication of the big city and live in the raw beauty of nature not too far away.

That sounds wonderful, and perfect for an author. Where do you write, June? Do you have an office? Or do you sit in your garden?

I have an office to write in, but I like to sit by our trout stream and write. I usually carry paper and pen with me wherever I go, because sometimes I see interactions with people that inspire me to write and I don't want to forget what I saw.

That's like me, I always carry a pen and notebook wherever I go. You never know what might inspire you and it's so easy to forget things. Now, tell us how long you’ve been writing, June.

I always enjoyed writing as a child. I was an average student because I was a lazy student. I did what I needed to, to get through the course. But I always exceled in English and got top marks.

That's great. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

As a teenager, I was very shy and definitely a dreamer. Secretly I wanted to write, be a rock star, and be a stewardess so I could travel the world. I grew up in a loving and protective family but the support to have a career really wasn't there. As a female, I was encouraged to take typing so I could work as a secretary until I met a man and became a wife and mother. The fifties dream LOL.

Yes. I can relate to that. Not all parents see the artistic side of their child. I look for it in my grandchildren and can already see that one is a potential author. He has a great imagination and is great at drawing.

Do you remember your first writing attempts, June?

I do. I remember writing about being a snowman when I was nine and walking down the street and melting away in the hot spring sun LOL. I got an A for that. Then, as a teenager, I tried to write the great Canadian novel about a girl in Quebec in the days of the French Voyageurs (fur trappers). Like I knew all about that! That was my first lesson in writing about what you know. Haha.

That's funny, June. I remember my first story. It was about a miniature person that lived in my pocket. I named her Inchy and she was a right trouble causer. LOL.

What genre do you write the most?

Fiction - women's stories, all about empowerment.

What other genres have you written in, or would like to pursue?

Well, at the moment, my passion lies with women's stories. I love getting into the psyche and I'm very character driven as opposed to plot driven. I enjoy creating plots, but they are there to serve my characters only.

What is the main theme of your latest book? And what inspired it?

Again...empowerment. That shy protected teenager, along with being a dreamer, was extremely niave. I married the wrong person for all the wrong reasons. He was an abusive alcoholic. It took me nine years to finally get the courage to get myself and my son out of that destructive relationship. My first novel, Winter's Captive, is based on the lessons I learned and the growth I gained from that time of my life. It is a fictitious story about a pregnant women who is abandoned by her cheating husband and she escapes kidnappers in the Canadian north. She spends the winter lost and alone in a remote cabin, experiences childbirth solo, and reflects on her life while trying to survive a harsh winter. The book was a healing process for me and my therapy.

That was very brave of you to do. Many women never have the courage to do that as they fear the reprisals, and quite right in some cases. You're also very brave to talk publicly about it too. Good for you, June.

What goals do you set out to achieve when you start writing a new story?

Wow, that's a tough question! I don't write outlines. I loosely write down the main characters name and list all the things I see happening to that character before my preconceived ending. I, also, don't write in any particular order. I know a beginning and an end. I write where the muse takes me knowing only that that piece will be near the end, or in the middle somewhere, etc. I just follow the muse of the moment and sooner or later all the pieces fit together. It is the only way I can do it. To start at chapter 1, go to 2, then 3, etc. sounds so restrictive to me and boring LOL. So after all this rambling, my only goal is to write, no rhyme or reason to it.

Are you a fast or a slow writer?

By some peoples achievements, slow. My first novel took nine years. Well, actually two and a half years. The rest of those years, life got in the way. But the past year I completely rewrote it and found a publisher after three tries.

How long does it take you to write a book

I guess I answered that above partly. I expect my current novel to take me a year. If I could retire full-time, probably six months.

How do you cope with the friends and family that don’t support your writing or believe in your writing?

Generally, if we don't support something a family member is doing, we keep our mouths shut, unless it is somethng destructive. But the rest of us will talk to each other about it. A typical family LOL. I can be a private person and some of my friends didn't even know I write.

That's sensible. I make the mistake of telling everyone I'm an author, leaving myself wide opene for critisism, sometimes, but not always.
What is your next project, June?

A sequel to "Winter's Captive". My main character has more to say and more to share about herself with the world.

Great. Do you ever base physical appearance of your characters on people you know, portraits or actors?

Good question. Portraits or actors - no. Physical appearance somewhat, but I do draw more from personality traits and character of people I know. I use names of my grandchildren for secondary characters that may only appear in the story on one or two pages where we don't need to know anythng about that character. I don't use names of people I know for main characters because first, I can't disassociate their name from their personalities and that gets in the way of the character's development. And secondly, I don't want anyone I know to think a character is based on them, especially if the character's role in the story is a bad one LOL.

I know what you mean. For my characters, I merge a few people I know together, then they can't recognise themselves. LOL.

Introduce the main character from your latest book. Who are they? Let them speak for themselves. What would they like to say?

My name is Georgia Charles. The most important thing I can tell you is to get to know yourself. Don't define yourself by what you do or who you are with. Be your own person. And if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. It's up to you to decide how much sweetness to add to the lemons, no one else. Live for today.

Fantastic, June. Thank you so much for answering all the questions. That was very entertaining.

I enjoyed it too, Trish, and thanks for inviting me to your blog.

June's book, Winter's Captive will be published in October 2011 by Asteroid Publishing Inc, Toronto.

You can follow June at:

Have a great writing week all and keep on keeping on writing!