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Yes, she understands writing....

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Thanks so much for that, Chris! It's great! Now we just have to make sure Pec reads it! It says what I've been saying all along, only much better.

And here I just wrote a story with a prologue! But there was a specific reason I did that -- something I almost never do -- and it worked.

I also have recently seen more books with multiple points of view, and I've never found them confusing or distracting. What I've found is what she said: they add richness and perspective to the story.

It's easy to agree with every point she makes. Common sense, really.


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The philosopher, Daniel Dennet points out, verbal language has no rules which cannot be broken. If it were otherwise then the language would be dead. Kids and teenagers would not invent new words or new uses for old words; comedians would be short of a means to pun.

When it comes to written language, however, rules do apply. Writing is a record of language and must abide by agreed definitions if it is to be understood by others. Yes, writing does age, few people write the same as Shakespeare did. Indeed most people have difficulty in reading 16th century English let alone the more pretentious word flows of Victorian English.

As we have noted before in these forums, writing has to follow certain rules of grammar, etc., but those rules are not followed when we write dialogue because, even though it is written, it is (a record of) the actual speech, and if Dennet is correct then, the rules no longer apply as they do to the narrative.

However, clich├ęs in spoken word can be even more grating than in narrative. The language of the stage, the screen and books all have their little vocational quirks. For instance back in the early years of English movies it was not uncommon for a character to draw attention to a particular speech by saying, "Now look here.." or "Now listen to me, listen to me." This was so over used that it became a sedative for some audiences until one of the screenplay writers decided that was a good place to have the character murdered. Better the character shot, than the language perpetuate banality.

All this means is that the formality of the written grammar is binding in ways that dialogue is not, but don't mistake the crossover that accompanies formal grammar when speech changes the form into a living language like English. That's the moment that our modernity can indeed break the rules with some structural, intellectual or lyrical innovation.

Now on the matter of the Prologue. I don't think Cole has written a prologue as I would use it. A prologue to me is an introducing summary of the work that follows, but presented in a way that is not evident of a conclusion, or a proof of that conclusion, that will be revealed by the end of the work.

Examples aside, and a one sentence example is indeed, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times," let us consider those who read the word, "Prologue" as something that they need not read. This may be a habit acquired from those more educational books which seek to define terms or outline influences on the main body of text. To avoid this I'd prefer to see Cole's first chapter as Chapter one. Of course, if Cole turns the story to a point where the last chapter does indeed tie the prologue to a profound statement then, he would be correct in calling the first one a prologue. It's delightful to me that such a revelation may well be hidden.

Alternatively, whatever the case, I would prefer the opening to be called a prelude. And yes the word prelude is used in both musical works and literary ones; usually in a lyrical manner as in Gone With The Wind. The whole idea of an opening statement that is then put aside whilst a story is told that eventually leads back to the opening statement but in a way that reveals a truth of great profundity or insight, is a classic construction used throughout both the musical and literary worlds.

Not that any of this attempted discussion (dissection?) matters at all in the pleasure of this story which is so enticing and well written. Cole never disappoints.

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[proh-lawg, -log]
a preliminary discourse; a preface or introductory part of a discourse, poem, or novel.

That's exactly what my prologue was, a preliminary discourse. It wasn't chapter 1. It was an introductory part of a story that helped define a character and add a certain degree of uncertainty about him at the same time, thus amping up the suspense a bit. It provided detail that would not have been known otherwise until much later, and the story would have suffered for that, in my opinion.

So there. :laugh:


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Cole, James, Colin, Des and Chris in tutus.... The mind boggles.

Anne Allen is worth reading, too.

Not nearly as interesting and amusing as our resident Emu in a tutu. Hmm... do they make Emu size tutus?

Colin :icon_geek:

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