The moment I opened my eyes the other morning, I knew … I knew beyond any doubt that I should not only cut the prologue of this book I’m wrestling with, but do away with the grandma scene too—an entire chapter! The dialogue between grandma and heroine/granddaughter is nothing less of an info dump. Info that I deem vital to the story, but looking at it through your eyes, NOT!
I should be happy with this breakthrough (it isn't unlike throwing away a drawer full of valuable newspaper articles from the 60s) but I’m not. I like the book the way I wrote it originally, with my prologue, my info dumps, my meandering through each chapter telling and showing what I want when I want. To heck with what the reader wants ‘cause I’m running this show! Yeah, right.
Actually, I’ve reached the point where I have a difficult time even recognizing an info dump. If it reads smoothly, doesn’t interrupt the flow, doesn’t yank me out of the action, makes sense, then I’m okay with it. Of course, if it stops the action completely, reads like a history lesson or a genealogy—well that’s just ridiculous.
I got back a contest entry the other day. My scores were interesting. Perfect 50, a 48 and a 37. The 37 seemed lost as a goose, couldn’t follow the leap from prologue teens to adult years. The others had no problem and liked the prologue, said it was a great place to start but the first chapter was too, if I decide to cut prologue.
So here’s my question: everything is so darned subjective, how do you know what’s right, what’s wrong, what works, what doesn’t? I know most of you will say for me to go with my gut, do what feels right, tell the story I want to tell. Well, heck—that’s no help! How do you decide when it’s really time to put your book out there--self-pub, submit to an agent or editor, let it go? And what do you do months later when you realize you made the wrong decision?