Saturday, 18 February 2017

Writing - Prologues

It doesn't happen with every story written but occasionally the story needs some unpacking or support. Cessation has a prologue and some of the Steele novels have that, appendices and even a bibliography.
Some authors deliver whole rafts of information to go along with the tale. Hilary Mantel writing Wolf Hall (Man/Booker prize winner) preceded the story with around 90 pages of information.

I felt that Cessation would benefit from some background evidence before the reader got fully into the story, so I produced this prologue that was made up of direct quotes in newspaper articles.
The only thing that I would say is keep it reasonable, as a reader I find that additional information that is too long is off putting. So sorry Hilary but I read Wolf Hall without the preamble!

The prologue below is intended to be a couple of minutes glance through to heighten the indignation of the reader.


22nd October 2013
Government signs deal that will see taxpayer underwriting French state-owned EDF's investment for next 35 years

30th October 2013
Do you have reliable access to electricity? Do blackouts affect your day-to-day life? 

1st November 2013
 Shadow energy minister calls for clarification on whether renewable energy schemes are at risk.

7th November 2013
With the prime minister and his colleagues contradicting one another daily, hopes of smart energy policy are going up in smoke.

11th November 2013
Energy secretary says the big suppliers face a 'Fred the Shred' moment as the public sees in them a reflection of bankers' greed.

12th November 2013
Householders have been warned that energy bills could rise by almost 50% over the next six years.

13th November 2013
Consumers face 17 more years of above-inflation increases in energy and water bills as they help pay for the renewal of the UK's infrastructure.

Of course the accuracy of the information in the prologue is only as verifiable as the newspaper editors wanted it to be, but then that is everyday life.


The story is a speculative journey into a possible future that may lie ahead of us all. There is evidence that such a future may not be impossible. We have been warned that unless we increase the ability to produce electricity there could be power cuts in the next ten years. Our modern day lives are permeated through with the need for electricity and its production.
Although Cessation could be categorised as a dystopian story I find that rather a negative word and the purpose of writing the tale is to allow elements of hope in a seemingly desperate situation.
The story begins in 2023 a couple of years after the lights go out for the last time. Our group of survivors are thrown together on a farm in the low Pennines north of the M62 motorway and within striking distance of a number of northern towns which could prove useful for supplies. Initially the group is small and live on a farm called Serendipity but as time passes the size of the group waxes and wanes for a variety of reasons.

God Bless