Tag Archive for: noir

In Praise of Prologues

By AB Plum

Do you skim prologues?

Dislike them?

Shrug when you finish and begin Chapter 1 (the real story)?

Feel “manipulated” when you finish the book?

Prologues stir up a lot of discussion among writers and readers. Personally, I like them if they’re more than hype. Winding up a seven-book series, I decided to use seven prologues in the final book. 

Crazy? Maybe. But. I think they work. Because they satisfy introducing unanswered background story questions from the previous books. 

Each of the min-prologues layers into the subsequent plot—though in one instance, the reader may get a surprise at the twist. In length, they range from three lines to one page. Two different backstories emerge. Ultimately, they tie the whole series together. 

Each mini-prologue falls under the general heading of Prologue. I used lowercase Roman numerals to distinguish each one.

Would I try this structure again?
Right now, I’ll say yes. As a writer, I really enjoyed the challenge. 

What about you? Would you take one look at those Roman numerals and throw the book against the wall? Would you read them and then delete the book from your eReader?

The Whole Truth marks a resting place for AB. Sliding down the slippery slope of writing noir has opened up a lot of ideas. This summer she plans to read more for pleasure, dance more for fun, walk more for health and write more about love.

Four Reasons to Include Dogs and Cats in Adult Fiction

By AB Plum

Writing noir stories short on violence, but long on psychological darkness, I often take a break to read something light or uplifting. I recently finished The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (https://www.amazon.com/Art-Racing-Rain-Novel-ebook/). I cried often.

When I finished the last sentence, I closed the book and thought about why I include dogs or cats in my romantic comedies and also in my darker psychological thrillers. 

1.  Dogs and cats bring out the best in my male characters. The four-legged characters have all come from shelters or “adopted” the hero.

Subtext: These guys—or in two instances young boys—vulnerable for many reasons, caring for their furry companions, show the reader they also take time to care for someone besides themselves.

2.  Dogs and cats can increase or decrease tension—especially sexual tension between the Hero and Heroine. In two of my novels, old, abandoned cats fall for the Heroine just like the Hero does.      

Subtext: Woe unto the Heroine who doesn’t like the Hero’s feline.

3.  Dogs and cats offer unconditional love to kids caught up in the twists and turns of the plot. Little boys can play Frisbee or chase with a dog and forget his parents’ divorce or his father’s disappearance. A teen-age girl, on the other hand, prefers a cat because they—frankly— smell better.

Subtext: Cats are a lot like teen-age girls: Wannabe divas. Dogs are a lot like five-and-six-year-old males:  Seekers of physical distraction.

4. Dogs and cats provide lots of chances to inject humor—often physical. Even on the darkest pages I write, I want to offer at least a ray of light. 

Subtext: A smile or a chuckle often works as well as a belly laugh to give the reader a bit of relief.
What about you, do you prefer all your characters to be human[oid]? Shoot me a yes-or-no reply:  ab@abplum.com. I answer all my email.

Accompanied by canine-companions in Southern Missouri, I developed a love of walking fast. Disregarding my Creative Writing prof’s advice, I wrote about the death of a favorite dog and received a C+. Maybe I’ve found the origins of this blog.
Coming in mid-October, The Early Years, the first serial installment of The MisFit Series. No dogs or cats until Book 4.