I went with a prologue. It’s fairly garbage at the moment and it might get cut entirely in the final run but it’s there for now. When I planned the book it felt like I was starting with a fairly realistic, domestic setting whilst suddenly introducing beings from other planets later on. I’m thinking at the moment that this might be a little bit too much of a culture shock. The prologue leads into the strangeness that’s on the way so it may be a little easier to swallow.
The better news though is that I’ve now started the book. No longer is it a blank file. I’ve spent the last few days tackling the question of the opening of chapter one. What should the first sentence be? Famous examples include 1984’s ‘It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen’ which is fantastic as it takes something normal and then twists it right at the end. I really wanted something similar.
One of my main characters in the book is returning back to her small town Scottish home after a decade away. Thankfully I grew up and still live in what can be described as small town Scotland. I started to think about any strange local legends that come up around these parts. Opposite my parent’s house there’s a graveyard with a large tree. When I was a kid the local word was that this was the ‘Devil Tree’. If the moon was full and shone through the belltower onto it then Lucifer himself would appear in the branches. Obviously complete rubbish looking back but certainly a bit scary when you’re seven.
Therefore I’m ‘uprooting’ the Devil Tree and transporting it into my fictional Scottish harbour town. This character begins the chapter by being driven from the train station in a taxi to the place she’s staying in town. She’s looking out of the window and seeing the things she remembers from years ago (and some new stuff she doesn’t). She’ll remember the Devil Tree no doubt, how could you forget?
So the opening line then? Currently I’m going with..
‘The years may have passed but the Devil Tree still stood’.