Why Write a Prologue? [Video]

Sometimes, in order to tell the most effective story, your audience needs to have a bit more information than what the plot can supply.

A prologue can do that. A prologue can add a bit of historical detail, usually to introduce an antagonist of some sort through a particular circumstance.

In the first book of the Song of Ice and Fire series, The Game of Thrones, we are introduced, very subtly to the White Walkers as a few members from the Night’s Watch has an unsettling encounter with them.

Or there is The Lord of the Rings, where the Ring and Sauron are introduced.

Prologues are not exclusives to introducing antagonist. They can offer any details your story needs but are unable to fit within the actual plot itself. The term “unable” is a tricky one as with any type of finesse, and if the detail is truly vital, you can surely include the information in the plot without having a prologue.

In the end, a prologue is a decision of an author. If used correctly, it can be an effective first jab at hooking the audience. Done poorly, it can be wasted energy slowing down the velocity of your story.

I believe if you so desire to write a prologue, go for it, but afterward, evaluate whether you are simply dumping information onto a page or you are telling an exciting extension of your story and that these detail given at the beginning will be connected later on.

If the detail doesn’t link up, then in the second draft, you might have to cut the prologue. Or, rewrite it so it can do that.

The prologue I wrote for my novel at this time is an idea dump. It’s exposition. I needed it to frame the world I’m going to be creating, but now that I look upon it, I know there is much to be improved on.

 

The last message sent digitally was to let everyone beyond the border know that there was still hope. The slicing of the cyber thread caused all historical records to vanish. Everything men once knew was forgotten, buried by the erosion of time.

Nature hid humanity’s errors. Towers that once pierced the sky were now rubbles and broken stones. Sprouting forests healed lands that have been scarred by highway concrete. Dams broke, bridges collapsed, and everything else that men had made was surmounted by earth, until all remnants of prior existence were lost.

Yet springing from the ashes came life in the familiar forms. Millenniums passed, and there living without knowledge, upon the land that their ancestors had forfeited were new civilizations. Townships, unions, and districts built so far apart, that societies were forced into isolation. Those that lived were simple folks, concerned only with the matters of survival. Yet life was still hidden in a shroud of darkness and mystery. But those who did not understand did not complain, however, those that did, could only stand terrified as they faced the uncertainty.

 

What are your thoughts on prologues? Do you use them in your writing? I’d love to hear about it.

If you are interested in following my writing journey. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel to get regular updates.

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Bringer of Bad News, I’m The One

Look, I don’t know how to say it so I’ll just say it. I don’t know because nobody taught me. They should really teach you how to give bad news in elementary school. After 4th grade it’s all downhill, so might as well learn how to tell someone that you have horribly murdered their whole family.

So yeah… there you go… that was how I said it.

Sorry. Okay? Sorry. It was an accident. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t wake up this morning, get out of bed, did my usual 150 pushups while counting all the original Pokemon, and decided to go on a murderous rampage, okay? That’s not me. That’s not my style.

Why did I do it then? What was my reasoning? Because the devil told me to, okay?

Yes, the devil.

He told me to, and yes, the devil is a man, thank you very much. And there is only one. There aren’t multiple devils like they believe in those other countries, you know? There is only one devil and he has a sharp looking goatee and his face is red and his tail is cloved. He is exactly how he is portrayed in American television.

Anyways, he told me to do it. I had to, you know… I had to… When someone tells me to do something I do it! I don’t care if it’s illegal or if it’s incredibly mundane, I do whatever people tell me because I’m a people pleaser. I like making people happy. Get this,  it actually hurts me when I say “No.” Even the idea of saying no is painful. It’s a horrible curse.

Like I’m saying, I’m really bummed out that you no longer have a family. I asked the devil if he could fix it, and he said no. See, he’s not dependable like me. He made up some excuse. Classic.  He said he knew a guy, but he doesn’t really do that kind of stuff anymore and it would be a huge bother just to even call and ask, but fuck… I tried, we both tried.

Look, we’ll make it up to you, huh? Why don’t you come hang out with us? Just come and chill with us for a few hours and if we don’t totally jive, we can forget about it and go our own way.

No… come on, give it a shot. Give a brother a chance to make amends, what do you say?

For reals? You’ll do it? Okay, dope, I promise you are not going to forget this. This is going to be amazing this is going to be so much fun. The devil just downloaded the latest video game, Fortnite, and we should go over to his place and play it and livestream.

What do you mean, you don’t like video games? It’s a game, everybody likes games. Humans are biologically designed to like games. It’s science. Read a blog post for once in awhile, eh?

Games are good for you. They help you think better in real life situations, like deciding whether or not it’s a good idea to play games on a weeknight like tonight or do acid and wander around naked.

By playing games, I get to make decisions. I’m working out my decision-making muscles, so when it comes time to flex it around my woman — such as when she asks me what do we want to eat and I say, “Oh, let’s just eat here,” and so we both sit down at the bar and have a nice meal at the strip club — I’ll be ready.

Do you have bus fare on you? I don’t have any change, and it’s about a 45 minute walk to get to the devil’s place.

You okay walking? I don’t care. I walk all day, but I know some people hate walking like it’s torture for them. I think it’s amazing how far people can walk, you know, and not even notice. We hate it, but we can walk far if we really wanted to. Right now, in a few hours I can walk all the way across the city. If i wanted to, I can do that. Can you believe it? The miracle of movement. We are lucky. We are lucky when can travel and move around and see the world. Some people don’t get to do that, and it’s sad when you think about it, right?

It’s important to find little things and appreciate it, you know. I think that’s the lesson in all of this, is to appreciate what we have every day because we will never know when a psychotic, satanic lunatic snaps and wreaks havoc, injuring and killing many.

You just don’t know. Nobody knows. Not even the crazy guy knows. Even if you know and you tell the police, they aren’t going to stop him. They are going to assess the matter and conduct an investigation. Gah! Don’t even get me started on the police. Anyways, I think I learned a lot from this whole sequence of events. Take a deep breath and really appreciate it. Sweet sweet life. Feels good to be alive. Beautiful day.

 

What you’ve just read is the fourth post in a series entitled “A Fan Fiction of My Life by My Number One Fan, Me.” Please check out the first three posts from the series:
Me, A Doctor
I Am A Controversial Artist, AMA
A Well-Respected Elderly Man, It’s Me

Did you enjoy it? Yes, subscribe to this blog, sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Twitter, stalk me in real life to get the latest update. 

Why You Should Outline Your Novel [Video]

There are two types of writers, there are those who take time before they start writing to outline their work, and then there are those that just get right to it.

For the longest time, I thought I was in the latter camp. I would start writing and then, through the majesty of imagination, my story will end up exactly where I intended it to end up.

That was rarely the case, most often I meander from scene to scene without a clear focus, guiding myself to an often unsatisfying climaxing and a lackluster conclusion.

In my more youthful years, I had all the free time in the world to write. I would pull all-nighters just for fun. Yes, fun! I would write all day long. That luxury is so far in the past that it now feels like someone else’s life. I don’t have a whole day to write anymore and the idea of staying up all night for fun is laughable.

As a content writer, it is important that my time is used wisely in the office. I have only a certain amount of time to produce a piece of content worthy of being published. It is not a creative feat, but it is an exercise in efficiency.

If you know what you are doing at the very early stages, if you know where you are going, you can start mapping out your day a bit better. An outline is an essential piece in accomplishing that. I can’t imagine writing a blog post without some sort of outline (albeit, I did not outline this one), and now, I can’t imagine doing the same for a novel with multiple parts.

I have so many abandoned, half written pieces of work from short stories to novel length manuscripts. I blame my haste to write and my neglect to outline for those unfinished works.

So here is to a new me, going forward, I am most certainly going to outline my work, especially one as epic. I give myself the permission to diverge from the outline should I see fit, but in order to keep myself on schedule and focused on the job at hand, I need to be organized.

Start with the outline or at least have a clear direction. If I did, I might have written my second or third book in the series by now. Or… I might not have started the first one at all. It’s hard to look back and say, but going forward, this is what I’ll do first. Outline.  

Check out my YouTube channel for more on my novel writing journey.

How to Write a Good First Sentence? [Video]

 

 

“When technology fell, the catastrophe threatened human existence.”

That is the first sentence of my epic trilogy. It won’t be forever, but it has been for a while now. It’s not great. There are many areas to improve.

But during the first draft, I wanted to simply get my idea on paper. The first sentence, if I over thought it, could have caused me to hesitate enough that I wouldn’t even start. In the beginning, I wouldn’t worry about the quality of the first sentence, I simply needed to start.

However, during the editing phase that is where I can go back, look at the first sentence and ask myself: is this a good first impression for my readers?

In this episode of The Other Epic Story Vlog, I took a look at the first line writing resources and examples from classic and contemporary works. Then I returned to my attempt at a first sentence and gave it my best crack.

I wanted to dig deeper. The words like “technology,” “catastrophe,” and “threatened” in my mind, were all weak, vague words. The kind of words a writer chooses to use when he or she is just kicking off. It’s a tell, not show sentence. I could do better.

“The last message sent digitally was to let everyone beyond the border know that there was still hope.”

This above is my updated first sentence. It encapsulates the same idea. The fallout of technology and the realization of our dependency upon it. I feel it has a bit more umph!

There are many sentences in a novel, but if my work is ever to be a classic, attention to the first one is important. So there it is… now onto the next one.  

 

Follow my writing journey on YouTube

A Well-Respected Elderly Man, It’s Me

Everybody keeps talking to me about the same thing. That thing I did in ‘79, gah! Is that all I’m ever going to be known for? I mean seriously!

That time I did karaoke and sung the shit out of Rockwell’s Somebody’s Watching Me. That was unreal. Everyone was singing along. Somebody was definitely watching me that night, I was entertaining as fuck.

Yeah, what a night that was. Unforgettable. But… nooooooooo…. People are still hung up by my “greatest” accomplishment and totally forgot about that performance.

You know what’s funny about greatest accomplishments?

Everybody’s definition of that is different. Some people’s greatest accomplishment is not dying when they were an infant. That’s their greatest accomplishment. For others it’s inventing the lightbulb.

Yeah. That’s me, the guy who invented the lightbulb.

Was it hard? Nah! People invent stuff all the time.

Like my cousin, Ren, he invented his own language, with swear words and everything.

He would always call me the direct translation of a Mother Fucker. There was literally a single word in his language for someone who does that. We don’t have that in our common tongue, English. We need two words to explain that concept.

First we need to know what it was that was fucked. Second, we need to know what was done to it, which was the fucking. The concept is a thing doing. Fascinating, huh?

That’s the beauty of language: I can say something and you can understand it. Now that, my friend, is an amazing accomplishment.

Of course, I wouldn’t boldly tell Ren that his greatest accomplishment was creating a whole language. That would be presumptuous.

Only the man who’ve lived the life can decide what he claims to be his greatest accomplishment.

Wow! That sounded wise. That’s deep too, right?

What if I decided that what I said right there is my greatest accomplishment. I can totally do that. My life, my choice!

Isn’t weird that we have to do this: ranking our lives. Trying to make every year better. Humans, so sad. Why can’t we be satisfied where we are? Why must we run on this hedonistic treadmill? What happiness am I chasing?

All my life I wanted to invent the lightbulb, now that I have, what more can I do?

It’s like by helping the world shine, I am left in the shadows. OMG. Was that just poetry? I’m not smart with this stuff, but that definitely sounded a little poetry to me. I feel goosebumps. Shit! This poetry shit is potent.

I guess, it could be worst. I could have never invented the lightbulb at all. Then what would I have done?

Then, would I even be remembered at all?

Think of all the people you’ve met. How many of them do you actually remember? Not many right? That’s a lot of fucking people — and you don’t even know anybody from India.

Imagine if you knew everyone from India… just pretend. I bet that Indians in India don’t even know every Indian in India. If I didn’t do something special, nobody would remember me at all.

I should be grateful that I am associated with something so essential to daily living. I mean, I invented something that is used by everybody — except the Amish and the poverty stricken. My invention is used by more people than Steve Job’s invention, the computer. That’s unreal. I’m not niche. I’m fucking mainstream as fuck! I should be hella more famous than I am. WTF.

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little pissed right now.

Why am I here talking to you dumb pieces of shit? I should be in a castle or something. I should be in a jacuzzi with well-paid, fully qualified female supermodels. I got ripped off! I can’t believe it.

You know where I went wrong? Here is where I went wrong, I got a patent before I got an agent. I needed someone to manage me. I had no one. I wung it. I wung it pretty good, I thought, but… holy shit, that is why you need a representative. I should have got one. I put so much work into it as well. See that’s the thing, that was time I could have been inventing more stuff or singing karaoke. Wasted time, wasted effort, poor results.

I’m pretty sad right now about my life. I go and invent one of the most revolutionary things in all of humanity and all I get is this, a slow sad death of me being reminded of how great my invention is.

Fuck! It’s pretty good, i guess, but can’t we talk about me? Can’t we talk about my crippling depression? That’s the thing about depression for old men. There’s no point helping you anymore. You sucked it up for this long, you can do it for a few more months.

Okay… enough, I don’t want to think how other people see me anymore, that’s such a sad and horrible way to think. I’m going to be myself, just an honest version of me from here on out. I’m going to think positive. I’m going to think about happy stuff like being in a jacuzzi with well-paid, fully qualified female supermodels.

Damn! I’m still pissed.  

 

What you’ve just read is the third post in a series entitled “A Fan Fiction of My Life by My Number One Fan, Me.” Please check out the first two posts from the series:
Me, A Doctor
I Am A Controversial Artist, AMA 

Did you enjoy it? Yes, subscribe to this blog, sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Twitter, stalk me in real life to get the latest update. 

I Got a Brilliant Idea! [Video]

Around six years ago, I started working on a novel. I was inspired by epics such as The Song of Ice and Fire, The Dark Towers, and The Lord of the Rings.

I knew it would be difficult, but the first draft came to me very easy. However, I didn’t have a conclusion. Thus, I decided that this story would be a part of a larger work — a trilogy. Young and naive, I set off on this journey and was immediately stopped by what I will now refer to as reality.

School, work, and life all together put this epic story on the shelf. I knew, as the way my life was unfolding, I might never take it up again. It would be an unfinished work. A great life regret. I have a knack for not finishing work, and I hate myself for it.

Most recently, I started working for Wondershare Filmora, producing content for YouTubers. It is a world that I absolutely relish being a part of. And so, not wanting to only observe from the perimeter, I’m participating.

I have attempted a few YouTube projects in the past. Most notably my attempt at a cocktail/beer channel, It’s Not a Problem Yet and my cult (amongst my friends) magic series, Mind Flirt. I have learned from those two projects that creating video content is a lot of work, especially when you are not an expert and require expensive resources (ie cocktail ingredients, magic skills).

So here is my new YouTube/novel project, entitled The Other Epic Story Vlog. While the fear of me abandoning this project, as I have done with so many before, is crossing my mind. I feel I may have finally found two projects that align. I can work on my epic novel and create videos about it at the same time.

This will be an interesting learning experience as I dive back into old work and venture beyond. The Other Epic Story Vlog will be interactive. I will learn about writing techniques and try to apply them on camera. Watching someone write is not always fun, in fact, it’s quite agonizing, but I feel like I am onto something here. I feel like this might be a pretty brilliant idea.  

 

Follow my writing journey! 

I Am A Controversial Artist, AMA

I logged onto Reddit and prepared for my evening of, what the millennials will call, blowing minds. It’s true, think about it with your perfectly intact brain, how often do people get to ask questions to a person who essentially pinches the nipples of society.

Yes, I make a living as a controversial artist and as a sport equipment store clerk. The art itself doesn’t pay for anything. It’s ahead of its time so there really isn’t a market for the type of art I do yet, but believe me, like all the great impressions of history, mine will shortly follow whatever meme is most popular at this moment.

Mine will follow Meme.

That should be the title to my memoir. Mine Will Follow Meme The Memoir. That’s a lot of M’s, I like that. If only my name is Melvin McMurtry, right? Mine Will Follow Meme The Memoir By Melvin McMurty.

Holy shit!

That’s a sick title and authorship. Imagine people saying that out loud. That’s art. Making people say weird rhythmic words is a beautiful art form that isn’t often demonstrated in the contemporary art scene.

I’m too many steps ahead looking back, that’s what I feel like all the time.

But imagine, someone at a the library asking, “Hi librarian, do you happen to have a copy of Mine Will Follow Meme the Memoir By Melvin McMurty?” OMG, what a weird thing to say.

That came from my brain and I made someone else say it. Art. Anyways, that’s going to be a piece I’m working on for the future. Make a mental note: reminder, start working on my memoir.

The rumours are true, this is my first AMA.

If you haven’t heard the scoop, AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. It’s an Internet slang for an interview with people who have questions (no such thing as dumb questions?) for revered people like me.

I heard it can get pretty controversial, which is what I’m all about as an artist. I want to push the limit. My hope tonight, as I sit in front of my computer in my black attire and trench coat, is that I would get in such a heated argument with someone from the Internet that I will be banned from Reddit.

I will really know I pushed the limits then. When you get banned from a social media platform, you know you are hardcore. That’s like getting expelled from school, or the mall, or wherever people get sucker punched with ideas. Consumerism, Ah! Economic Stability, Ah! What is more right? Racism or sexism?

I can’t come at it as though I want to argue though. You don’t blow minds by shouting your opinions. You blow minds by flipping someone’s life completely upside down. You allow that person to offer their opinion, and almost bait and switch a conversation on you, but you are smarter than that.

“Hey,” they’ll say, throwing me a softball, “What do you think of global warming?” And I’ll respond, “Oh, I hope global warming happens, I’m trying to cause global warming every day. I use paper towels, I throw plastic bags in the organics bin — I litter!” I hit them with the last thought like a finishing right hook. “I’m all for global warming,” I continue, “in fact, global warming is the only way I want to die. It’s my dream death. My ideal death.” Bam! Controversy.

What a statement I just made, on the fackin’ Internet no less.

Everybody is going to read that. It’s there — forever! People are going to know that I backing global warming.

I didn’t whisper it into someone’s ear like a pussy, I wrote it on the Internet. That’s rebellious. That’s against the grain for sure.

From there, who knows, maybe the guy will think hmmm… maybe the artist is right, maybe global warming is the best option.

Shiiitt! I just started a revolution. A small band of brothers with a very fixed notion that the end of world via global warming is the best scenario. Then the history books are going to trace back the origin of this valiant group and discover, the historians do, that it was I who gave birth. That’s what good art can do, it infects someone’s neural systems and devour the subject from the inside out, like one of those fungus take kills insects from the inside.

Here’s a picture of what I’m talking about:

zombie-ant-fungus-770x554That’s my ideas eating your body!

Yes, I could have gotten a driver’s license, but instead I got an artistic license (see what I did there?) and I must say, I am far happier to have this.

I mean, they aren’t mutually exclusive, I can totally go get my driver’s license anytime. I’m a grown man. In fact, it’s kind of a hindrance on my life for not having one.

Then again, I worry about what a car would do to me and my social life. I won’t get to speak with the people on the bus anymore. People, believe it or not, love it when I spark a conversation with them on the bus.

I mean, it’s natural that I lead them towards a topic where I can return with a hard-hitting controversial respond. Debating with people on the bus is good exercise. It also flexes my imagination, which is what I need to create art. You might even say that strangers on the buses are my muse. Every artist needs a muse and mine are drunk teenagers and drunk homeless people and sober crazies commuting to and from work.

I guess you can say that the bus is like the Internet, except the Internet has a much bigger audience. It’s crazy how technology has come so far. From buses to Internet, what a time to be alive.

You can argue that this is the best time to be alive. But I disagree, because I think it’ll be better to live in the future when my art is appreciated, like how dead artists’ works are worth so much more after they die.

Yep, after I die from global warming, the world will recognize my greatness. It’s a shame I won’t be around to enjoy it. It’s a controversial way of living, like a Jesus, you know? I’m sacrificing myself like a Jesus or a Martin Luther King. Those guys were controversial AF, standing up for their rights. I’m sort of following in their footstep. Just imagine me, “I have a dream death: Global warming!” Yeah, that’ll rattle some feathers, for sure!

 

What you’ve just read is the second post in a series entitled “A Fan Fiction of My Life by My Number One Fan, Me.” Please check out the first one, called Me, A Doctor, if you haven’t already. It’s simply divine. 

Did you enjoy it? Yes, subscribe to this blog, sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Twitter, stalk me in real life to get the latest update.