YA, College and the Great Prologue Debate…

dreamstime_5555091I’m starting this post in the opposite order of the title.  A while ago I asked you guys to weigh in on the Great Prologue Debate.  And you know what – your answers were all over the place.  Generally most of you guys felt that prologues can serve a purpose (60% of the poll respondents felt prologues could be useful).  Interestingly enough, several agents and editors on twitter have openly shared their opposite opinion on the value of a prologue.

For me, I agree with the 60% that said it depended on the story.  Granted, most of the ones I’ve read were not needed for the story, but there are those few that really help set the scene.

To get a readers perspective on things, I informally asked several typical YA readers (since this is my genre) about prologues.  More than half admitted that they don’t read the prologue.  More than half!  I was shocked.  To me, that is a compelling reason enough to steer clear and find a way to wrap the information within the body of the storyline!

Now, as for the other topics – YA and college.  An interesting question was asked on Twitter the other night, regarding a college aged MC in a YA novel.  Every agent and editor participating the the conversation STRONGLY advised against this, stating that college-aged stories are hard sells in an already tenuous market.

So it got me thinking about my first trilogy.  The MC is 17 – but she is in college.  It i something that felt right when I wrote it, but has bugged me ever since.  After the chat on Twitter I spoke with my trusted online buddies.  They agreed with much of the conversation.  So, what’s a girl to do?  You guessed it – redo the setting and several components to the storyline.  Internally, I know it is absolutely the right thing to do…but man-oh-man it’s going to take a while.

Oh well, must do what’s best for the story-line, right?

What about you guys?  have you had situations where you wrote something, only to know you needed to make a major change after the fact?  What did you do?

9 thoughts on “YA, College and the Great Prologue Debate…

  1. I did this with my first novel. I was half way through when I knew I had to change her age. It just didn’t feel right, and I couldn’t move forward until I went back and rewrote a lot of it to fix it. It totally sucked, but it was worth it in the long run. It’s hard to believe something so seemingly minor can make such a difference. Great post!

  2. Yes, college is no man’s land. We had initially wanted to set our WIP in college and Major Agent said she’d never be able to sell it. So she’s now at a fancy boarding school. See how that works?

  3. Nisa

    Absolutely, and all you can do is re-write or be unhappy with it. I like being happy personally. lol!

    As for prologues, I read them and my story starts with one. I think I would have to have some good critique buddies to talk it out with before I decided to switch things around.

  4. I participated in a similar (or maybe the same) discussion on Twitter the night before last and asked about my MC being 20 and in college. I already knew that wasn’t going to work, so I asked if it would be better to have a 24yo working/looking-for-work gal OR a 16-17yo who is ‘advanced’ and is already at community college.
    Both options were given equally positive responses. To do the 17yo in college, you just have to make the character relatable to the teens still in HS. I chose to change my MC to 24, though, as it’s more in keeping with my style and platform and such.
    I have the same difficult task ahead of me — I actually started last night — so I know how you’re feeling. For mine, it’s really just rewriting some paragraphs and conversations in a story I’m already so familiar with, so I’m hoping it won’t be too terrible. It hasn’t been so far. We’ll see…. Good luck!!

    As far as the prologue debate — I’ve had one editor and one publisher tell me that they normally don’t like prologues but mine worked…so maybe it does depend on the story — and the agent, etc…

    =)

  5. Oh, man! I feel where you are coming from. My book started out involving dragons in two places, but my critters let me know that.. you know.. dragons suck and have been done to death.

    So I had to be creative. In the end, I ended up with a fire elemental and a phoenix, and couldn’t be happier🙂. That was a ton of re-writing, though.

    Good luck with your rewriting!

  6. I totally agree with the whole college thing. I mean, who’s reading those books? NOT college kids.

    And I rewrote my first book at least five times (and it still sucks) going back and forth from third to first, then to a completely different character. Now I’ve opened a brand new document and am starting over. Again. But I think I have it now. Sometimes it just takes time.

    But who doesn’t have the time to get something right?

    Good luck!

  7. I’ve never written a novel, but I think in any story there’s always something you’ll have to change midstream to make it work. I come across that in writing all the time. Know that it’s okay, that you’re doing it to improve the story!

  8. Pingback: Ya, College and the Great Prologue Debate… « the Musings of …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s