August 23, 2013

Why all the hating on prologues?

I rarely ever go off on rants about things, well, not online anyway. That’s what my wonderful mom is around for. ;) But this has been bugging me for a while, and this blog post by Wayne Thomas Batson reminded me that I wanted to write my own post on all the dos and don’ts and overall criticism in writing.

First, I need to address the title of this post. It is the main reason I wanted to write this in the first place as it was really bugging me last week. I don’t understand. Why do people hate prologues? Okay, I totally understand if it reads like a history book, tedious, boring, no action, info dump. I get that. Even I skim those. But what about prologues with action? Prologues that read just like the rest of the book? I have been shocked by the number of people who say they always skip the prologue. In fact, it sort of frightens me. Why? Well, I use prologues. I like good prologues. Resistance, the first book of Ilyon Chronicles, starts with a prologue. A long one, actually, which I know is another supposed no-no. This prologue happens to be what is probably my favorite chapter of the entire series. It puts you into the action right off and introduces the main characters. The information you gain from it is vital. Anyone who skips it will come to these characters later and will have no idea where they come from or why they are what they are. That seriously bothers me. I suppose I could have tried to scatter the information in throughout the story, but wouldn’t that be “telling”? Isn’t better to see it play out firsthand so you really get what drives these characters? Especially in a highly emotional book like Resistance. I want my readers to feel what the characters feel by having experienced the events that shaped them. The crazy thing is, if you took these hated prologues and titled them Chapter One, no one would even think about it. I could do that, but wouldn’t that be odd since it takes place three years before the rest of the story? You have to have some distinction between something that happened in the past and the rest of the story. In this way, I believe prologues are very useful, providing they are done well. I don’t know where all the hating on prologues came from. Maybe there are an over abundance of bad prologues, but if that’s the case, it’s highly frustrating that it has colored the overall outlook on prologues. I’m not going to stop using them if they are needed like in Resistance. I guess if someone gets confused later on in the story because they skipped it, I don’t feel it’s any mistake on my part, but on the rather unwarranted critical view of prologues.

That brings me to my second subject. Dream sequences. Almost everywhere I’ve read not to have dreams in your books. Why not? I have a WIP that begins with a dream of the protagonist’s childhood. It’s a memory more than a dream and gives the reader insight into his character, sort of a like a prologue. It sets up who and why he is who he is. In instances like this, dreams can be very useful. They can also do a lot of foreshadowing and set a particular mood. In Resistance, my main guy, Jace, suffers from nightmares. I have at least one scene where I actually write out the dream. This gives you insight into the turmoil inside him, revealing his deepest doubts and fears. Later on in the series, his dreams also foreshadow something to come. Somewhere I read that dreams shouldn’t be written because it can never be done realistically. Maybe, but this is fiction. Fiction doesn’t have to be perfectly realistic 100% of the time. I’ve never read a dream sequence and thought, “This is unrealistic. My dreams aren’t like this.” How can you say what other people's dreams are like anyway? I can’t come up with any good reason dreams should be forbidden in fiction. Some may be badly written, but that pertains to everything in writing fiction. As with prologues, I say if you can do it well, then do it.

What this all comes down to is, we have a lot of rules and a lot of people trying to enforce those rules. Of course, certain rules are important. If you don’t follow grammatical rules, then you’re in trouble. Rules like that are good. But I think many “rules” are more opinions. Writing is art, is it not? Artists each have their individual ways of creating their art. If you try to force them to work under a very specific and daunting set of rules, of course it’s going to kill creativity and make them question everything they do. One thing I’m noticing is that the majority of those who are so determined to enforce rules are writers. We writers have very specific ideas about how things should be done, but I think we forget everyone is an individual with their own styles. Not everyone will write the same way, or at least they shouldn’t. People are supposed to be unique and we’re all at different stages of our writing journey. The thing is, I don’t think many readers are nearly as conscientious or caring about the rules as writers are. People read to enjoy a good story, not pick apart how it’s told. I’ve always said, as a reader, I’ll forgive a whole slew of broken rules if I love the characters and the story. And I’m very thankful for my own readers who have done this with my books. I’m currently in the middle of reading through Makilien, and after being away from it for a couple years, I’m a little shocked. I keep thinking, “Wow, I published it like this?” Every book I write gets better, as it should be. My point is, it may not be the best written story out there, but I’ve received nothing but excellent reviews and kind words about it. People enjoy the story and the characters, so despite any flaws, I feel I’ve done my job as a writer. Someone could sit and point out the flaws and “broken rules” all day long, but what really matters is what the readers think. I think we all need to lighten up a bit and have fun. We’re human. Every book out there will have something that someone else thinks is done wrong. Let’s all just do our best to learn our craft and provide well-written fiction that may have some flaws, but tells a good story. Especially us Christian writers. God gave us this gift as a way to share Him with the world. There’s no sense in getting so bogged down by the “rules” that we either get overly critical of others or afraid to share our own work because of how it will be received.

August 22, 2013

A Brand New Cover for Truth

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That’s right, this is the unveiling for an updated cover for Truth, the first book in my Makilien Trilogy. As sudden as this may seem, I’ve actually been trying to get this done for over a year. It went through a couple changes and gave me a lot of frustration at first. Then, about a month or so ago, I tried a different background photo, one I’d actually had for a while, and it all came together perfectly. I’m just thrilled with it. I think it captures the mood of Truth perfectly. Now, why have I done this? Well, my original cover, as much as I loved it at the time, did not match the last two of the trilogy. This is a tip for all writers—if you’re working on a series, know what all the covers will look like before you publish.



So there it is. What do you think? Do you feel it captures the essence of Truth better than the old one? Look better as a trilogy now?


The new cover is showing up on Kindle, and I’ve uploaded the new files to CreateSpace. The new paperback should will be available in the next couple weeks providing I don’t have to order too many proofs to get the colors right.

Now, on Facebook, I promised two announcements, didn’t I? As if I don’t have enough projects going, I’ve decided to create a Makilien Trilogy 3-in-1 book. At first, I was only going to do it for Kindle, but I think, if I’m really creative with formatting, I can actually make it into a paperback too. (Fingers crossed on that.) It will be between 600-700 pages, but how could I resist making a giant Makilien Trilogy book like the 3-in-1 Lord of the Rings books? The most exciting thing about this is that I get to create a whole new cover! I’m very excited about that. Want to be part of the fun? If you have a blog and would like to be part of the cover reveal, just send me an email. (Postcard in the far right sidebar.) As part of the cover reveal, it means you get to see the cover at least a day before everyone else. ;) It will probably be a few weeks though. I don’t even have the photos for it yet, but I hope to get around to it soon. I also plan to hold my first giveaway once the book is finished, so this should be a lot of fun.

I have one more announcement pertaining to Makilien, but I can’t reveal that just yet. It will be sometime in the next couple months, I expect. No, it’s not a whole new book (sorry), but I think fans will like it. :)

August 05, 2013

Introducing Jaye L. Knight


Here it is, the first of various announcements that will be coming in the next couple months. This is something I never, ever imagined myself doing. It came completely out of the blue one night and would not leave me alone. I have decided to write fantasy fiction under a new pen name. That’s right, besides being Molly Evangeline, I am also fantasy author Jaye L. Knight. It hasn’t been long since the name first came to me, but I’m already so absolutely in love with it that I don’t think I could get rid of it if I tried. I have no idea how it happened, but I’m pretty sure God is behind it. I’m just not sure of the reason yet. It was actually a lot like how I got the name Molly Evangeline. It was just there in my head and it stuck, feeling quite comfortable and fitting right from the start, which is crazy because it’s not a name I would have imagined using before.

I was quite iffy right at first whether or not this was a good idea, but I have a few reasons for deciding to go with it. For one, the fact that it just wouldn’t go away even after I tried to dismiss it is usually a sign to me that I should take something seriously. Like I said, I don’t know the reason, but it definitely seems that God was working behind it. It also feels like a fitting change. I published my first book at 18. I’m almost 25 now, and a lot has changed. That was seven years ago. I’ve matured, and my writing has matured. My stories have become much more serious since then. I didn’t even think about it until this new name showed up, but the name Molly Evangeline doesn’t seem to completely suit my writing anymore. At least not my fantasy writing. Jaye L. Knight, on the other hand, is delightfully suited to fantasy.

So, from this point forward, I intend to publish all my fantasy writing as Jaye L. Knight. This includes Ilyon Chronicles. Should I ever get around to writing more historical, I will probably still publish as Molly Evangeline, which has a more historical ring to it.

I’ve had a ridiculously fun time getting everything set up to use and establish this new name, including purchasing a new domain name and setting up a new website. I think one of the most incredibly awesome things about this, besides having a really cool name to use, is that I pretty much got to go nuts with the color blue, my favorite color. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do at first, but then I randomly pulled out the forest image that is actually for the cover of Resistance, changed the hue to blue, and everything started coming together. I think this just might be the most fun I’ve ever had on a website. So, without further ado, allow me to unveil it to you. Just click on the picture and have fun exploring my new space. :)

I have also set up a new Facebook and Pinterest page under the new name.