Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Journey to a Story...Part Seven: Prologue/Chapter One

In Part Six I said the next part would be the prologue.  I had it written and then I was trying to write Chapter One, but I just couldn't figure out how to start it.  Your first chapter, hell the first line of your first chapter, needs to pull the reader it.  It has to make the reader want to get into the story, but I had to much to explain in the start and just two posts ago I wrote about not boring the reader with backstory.  What to do?  What to do?

Why do I have a prologue?

A prologue is something to introduce the reader into the story.  It's an action that leads you to the main story the writer wants to tell.  When I was a kid I wasn't even sure that I had to read the prologue in novels, especially those prologues that were dated way in the past when the rest of the story is set in the present.  Not long ago I picked up a novel where the first chapter actually took place sixteen years before the main story.  You can do that?  No prologue?  Shazam!!!!  So I took my prologue and rewrote it.  I found a first line that got one of my test readers to say, "That first line made me want to lose my lunch."  Score!!  It's a strange world I live in.

So here is Chapter One...

Possible cover
Maeve scrunched her face as her teeth tore at the flesh of the other woman’s arm.  She chewed quickly and swallowed hard.  She tried not to think about what it tasted like.  Her stomach lurched wanting to reject what she was putting in her body.

She closed her eyes and tried to remember what daisies smelled like, what sun on her skin felt like.  She imagined the ocean’s water lapping against her belly.  She could almost feel the breeze coming in with each wave.

Her chest suddenly burned.  She felt the fire shoot up through her throat.  On instinct she turned fast.  The brick wall scratched hard against her forehead.  Pain and heat cracked through her skull.  Her body fell back.  Water splashed up over her naked skin.  She opened her mouth and everything she had taken inside came shooting out in one heave.  She heard it hit the water covering the floor.  Her body pitched as she tried to expel what wasn’t there.  With each thrust pain scorched her throat.

The sweet daisies were gone.  The soft breeze wasn’t there.  The only thing remaining from her dream was water.  It covered the floor and up about a foot or so, enough to cover her legs when sitting.  All she could smell was rot.  The body of the other girl gave off a foul smell that seemed to soak into Maeve’s skin.  Only when she drifted to sleep did the smell go away only to explode in her senses the moment she woke.  Just thinking of it again made her body toss forward with more dry heaves burning her chest.  No matter how much she tried to remember the smell of flowers, but it was barely a memory.  The water was stale as if it had been in this room for a long time.  It left a metallic taste in her mouth.  Every time she drank the foul water it came back up.  Her throat hurt so much from vomiting it was hard to breathe.  Even light was quickly being forgotten.  How long had she been in there?

She pushed back with her feet and hands until her body was in a corner.  Cold damp cinder block pressed against both shoulders.  It was there in the corner that she felt okay to fall asleep and sag against the two walls.  She knew the ceiling was a good jump above her head.  There was a trap door above the rotting corpse and a pipe on the far wall that had once drizzled water. 

The sound had echoed through the square room and she leapt across the room drinking the water coming down.  The other woman had screamed.  She wanted a drink.  She needed a drink.  Maeve needed to drink.  How long ago was that? 

Maeve closed her eyes and put her head back.  She tried to focus on something other than the darkness she saw with eyes open.  Her body tried to pull in a new breath.  The smells stuttered through her nose and down to her lungs.  Her eyes opened.  She saw his eyes in the darkness.  They were blue with yellow in the whites.  She remembered those from when he took her.  Those eyes would never leave her mind.

Where was he?

He had come three times.  He opened the trap door and dropped down into the water.  He was tall enough that he could reach the door without having to jump.  Light cascaded in blinding Maeve for a minute as her eyes tried to adjust.  She heard the water move as he lifted the other woman to see if she was dead.  Her limp body splashed as he dropped her.

Maeve didn’t want to open her eyes, but she had to.  She watched him slowly walk through the water toward her.  His hand reached out for her.  She let out a scream and tried to scramble away, but he was too fast.  He grabbed her shoulder and pushed her.  She fell against the wall, her palms scraped against the blocks.  He hit her.  He threw her around the room until she fell into the water and couldn’t get up again.  Then for no reason he reached onto the ledge around the trap door opening and pulled himself up and out.  The door closed with a slam enveloping Maeve in darkness.

The last time he came he opened the trap door and poured fresh water down.  Maeve was paralyzed with fear in the corner, she didn’t want to get hit again, until the moment she heard the water pouring down hitting the water covering the floor.  She pushed herself up off the floor and stumbled across the room, her body fell over the other woman as she hungrily drank the falling water.  She let the water fill her mouth and throat until natural instinct made her pull away.  She took a breath and opened her mouth again.  The water stopped.  The trap door shut.  She knelt there for a long time staring up at the door.  He didn’t come back.  He hasn’t been back.

She couldn’t think of what he had done to her.  She needed him.  She needed him to come back.

She felt the heat of bile rise inside her chest.  How could she need him?  She had to do something.  She had to save herself.  She tried to reach the trapdoor by jumping when she first got in.  She almost touched it.  If she could jump up and grab him when she looked in maybe she could startle him.  Maybe she could pull him down.  If she was lucky he would hit the concrete floor with his head and break his neck.  Or if he didn’t maybe he would be so angry he would end it all.

Save herself or welcome death.
Who is Maeve Campbell?  I didn't really know.  Even after writing the above I didn't know.  Then I saw this picture from a friend of mine, Trinky.  At first I thought it would be a good cover for a book, but then I thought it might be good for a CD cover.  Wait, my plan for Maeve is that she is a singer/songwriter who was taken while traveling across the country.  Trinky would be the perfect Maeve Campbell.  She's care free and earthy.  A little asking of permission and there we have it, I now know what Maeve Campbell looks like.  Ad I even have her first CD.
To find out how the Journey has started and the steps that have been taken follow these links.
A shout out to Wendy Hilderbrand for this amazing photo of Trinky
Let me know what you think of Chapter One.


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  2. A really good start to a book, gets you thinking, Who, What, Why, When.
    Glad I didn't eat before i read it, I did dream of dark damp places that night, but if you can't stop thinking of it that's when you know the book is good, can't wait to read the rest.

  3. Love it!! I read it once to myself and once to my boyfriend!!! We both agree its gripping and very well written. At first after I read it to him all he could say was Wow! Lol... Can't wait to read more :-)