Monday, March 24, 2008

Opening Lines

I've been working, off and on, toward the completion of the Dragon novels for the past ten years. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear ya: only one book complete, the second almost finished, and the third existing only in notes -- I should have finished the series by now.

Yet, through the years, the opening line of the prologue (which has moved from the first book to the second) refuses to be changed. I've been told to never include prologues--personally, I like 'em--or to never include difficult words in the opening sentence or paragraph. However, much as I have tried, this line remains the same:
In the darkness of the Prymmiddion Age, when clan fought clan and chaos ruled, Dragons broke their bond with Men.
It is adamant. It will not change.

Other opening lines are not so indomitable:
“Cargo aboard, sir. Freight lockers secure.”
Or this one:
“Advocate Temm. ISC Wyoming in two minutes.”
Or this one:
The old man, a little hunched at the shoulders but otherwise straight, set an old-fashioned medical bag on the table and opened it.

Yeah, I tend to open stories with dialogue or action, even if the action is small, such as opening a medical bag. These three examples are all from stories in progress, the first two from futuristic science fiction tales--space pirates and space mystery, respectively--and the third from a modern fantasy-suspense set in the American southwest. Their opening lines are subject to change.

What is it about the Dragon prologue that refuses alteration?

It tells the story. The entire series is wrapped up in that line. And, when spoken aloud, the sentence sounds like it could have come from a bard's mouth. It sounds like oral tradition.

So, despite advice, despite complaints that "no one will know how to say that P-word," the line remains as it is.

(FYI: Prymmiddion = prim-MID-dee-ON)


The Texican said...

Prymmiddion, are you sure? I thought it was in the Neanderasic period when the dragons left. Oh well, they're gone and no one can do a thing about it.


Or the early Mesopaleozoic epoch. But who can tell?