A couple weeks ago I posted my prologue of Black Thorn with the hopes that I could use it as a case study for fantasy. With that in mind I’m going to begin breaking down the different elements and explain why I chose to introduce the reader to the world I created through the prologue and not just jump right into the story. This will take several posts, so bear with me as I begin to deconstruct my creation.
The prologue can be used to show several different things at once. Normally items that the reader should know, that don’t necessarily make it into the main body of the story. In Black Thorn I use the prologue to show the wold in which my story takes place. I don’t show all in this, but try to get the basic stuff out of the way so the reader can enjoy the story.
The setting is the first topic of business I show case. Specifically the village of Thornpine; a major setting for roughly half the story. I also begin to describe Rosenkar which is my version of a neo-medieval North America after an instance called the Calamity destroyed the vast majority of the continent. I also show many of the fantasy elements here as well. The massive white pine the elves called the Thornpine for which the village was named. It’s light luminescent glow at night and it dripping the manna of the earth in the morning. A simple plant that radiates magic and draws the creatures of the world near it. A lot of importance is placed on the tree and the reader understands that it will be of some importance later on or is at least a symbol for which the people rally.
I introduce the main characters and some major supporting characters here as well. Even though this is taking place ten years prior to the stories events, I build upon the personalities of the characters that I introduce. Gideon and Katrina show themselves to be eager for adventure and excitement, while Levi is more studious. The latter buying a book instead of a sword. The former showing a more innocent nature which continues throughout the story. That is until the characters get their teeth knocked in (figuratively speaking.) they spend the short introduction hanging on their older brothers every word (and eyeing the chocolate chip cookies he purchased.)
I also take this time to introduce a little background on the main characters father. We learn he’s a widower, a war hero, and a well respected and well loved lord of the land.
There’s also the giant bear of a man that serves as the head knight. An important character and one that doesn’t get nearly enough page time now that I look back on it. I needed to show the relationship between the main characters and this character right away. This one character may even get his own short story in the years to come due to how well loved he is.
I introduce one of the many races (besides humans) that inhabit my world. A steadfast rule of mine is to always fill my fantasy worlds with elves. I love them, from Tolkien’s wood elves, to Brooks’s battle harden Shannara. I wanted my elves to land somewhere in between. I envisioned two races that hated each other on principle. Two that were so fundamentally different they couldn’t stand living in the same realm as the other. As one of the themes in Black Thorn is redemption, it was key to set the elves and the humans apart from the beginning.
Although Elves are not the only fantasy race that I have in my world, they are one of much importance. However looking back on it now, I missed a good chance to showcase the other races that intermingle with the humans. Dwarves, gnomes, and halflings to name a few. Again my main focus was to give the reader enough information to start imagining my world from the beginning.
I hope this has given you an idea of how I use prologue’s as a way to do more than just introduce the story, but the world as a whole. I also want to apologize for taking so long in getting this out. I’ve been putting all my time and energy in getting Through Mortal Eyes finished. Thank you for reading.