To prologue or not to prologue

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I hadn’t realised I’d cause consternation by saying I don’t think prologues or teaser scenes are a good idea.  I’ve had some worried-sounding emails saying “I hope you won’t dismiss this instantly because…”  Of course I wouldn’t reject something on such slight grounds, but it intrigues me that most of the submissions I get start with a prologue or a teaser scene.

Have we all been brainwashed by pre-credit sequences?  It works for James Bond movies, but what possesses writers to give away all the good stuff at the beginning is a mystery to me.  We’ve all seen movie trailers that feel like we’ve seen the whole film in a few minutes and now don’t need to go to it.

When is a prologue useful?  Only, I think, when it’s telling us something about the story that we absolutely need to know right now, to make sense of the first scene. Otherwise, what’s wrong with dropping us straight into the action?  I’ve paid my money, and now I want to get on the ride.

What’s New, Pussycat?

It’s been a busy time here, so a good moment to give a round-up of what’s going on with Ki’s clients:

Emma Adams – her play about what it’s like to be old and in a Home Sweet Home is produced by Freedom Studios and Entelechy Arts at the beginning of April: There’s more than a bit of magic in this.

Mike Carey’s Girl With All the Gifts is getting reviews from all over:

“The story of Melanie and the people around her is so thoughtfully crafted, so heartfelt, remorseless and painfully human, that it takes the potentially tired trope of the zombie apocalypse and makes it as fresh as it is terrifying.  The story spirals towards a conclusion so surprising, so warm and yet so chilling, that it takes a moment to realize it’s been earned since the first page, and even before. It left me sighing with envious joy, like I’d been simultaneously offered flowers and beaten at chess.  A jewel.”  Joss Whedon

‘If you only read one novel this year, make sure it’s this one, it’s amazing.’  Martina Cole

The two TV series and two films he has in development are also going well.

Stephen Davis has written a film for production this year, and is co-developing a new TV series.

Daniel Depp’s third novel, Devil’s Dance, has been bought by Severn House.  More in this wonderful Hollywood thriller series are planned.

Claire North (a new pseudonym for a young and exciting novelist) has a new book out in April: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.  This has been called ‘a remarkable book’ by Booklist and is a new and highly original departure for this writer.  Film rights have already been optioned.

Anne Perry goes from strength to strength, and is profiled in the current issue of Publishers’ Weekly:

Her latest paperback, Death on Blackheath, and her latest hardcover, Blood on the Water, are published on 10 April.

Simon Scarrow’s next paperback, The Blood Crows, is out on 8 May:

The boys are back in town!  Or specifically, Macro and Cato return to Britain, to tackle those especially scary tribes.  They enter a journey to the heart of darkness, where a Roman officer has invented his own psychotic way of battling the Welsh natives.

In other news, I’ve been one of the agents at the first London Author’s Fair, will be speaking at the T Party tomorrow, have concluded options in a number of books I can’t talk about yet, and been involved in industry discussions about changes to copyright.  More on that when I can find a way to talk about it concisely – and interestingly.