Saturday, November 17, 2012

Writing a Prequel Out of Order

On Amazon or Amazon UK

Mark Taylor: Genesis has been out a little over a month now. So far, reviews are favorable and for that, I'm relieved and grateful. One thing I've heard is that the book is shorter than expected. Like other avid readers, I like to sink my teeth into a nice long story, so it was frustrating to me too. I would have loved to have made the prequel longer, but I ran into some difficulties. Namely, that it was written after the other three books in the series.

I remember brainstorming and thinking, 'Oh, I could have Mark stop this big bank robbery, or taken hostage when a save goes awry!' I couldn't go there though and had to stop myself from writing those chapters. (at least for Genesis--maybe a future book?)

Why you ask? Because any major event not already mentioned in the three books would then beg the question of why was it never mentioned? I mean, if Mark had stopped a big bank robbery, wouldn't he have mentioned it in No Good Deed, perhaps to Jim or at least his parents when he was pleading his case?    It didn't make sense that there would be a major secret not revealed while he was undergoing interrogation. For instance, if he had suspicions of Mohommad going off to a terrorist camp, or meeting with people at one, I would think he'd be throwing that information into the ring immediately. Except he didn't. I chose to hint at those things in Genesis, but not have Mark be aware of what was going on.

My biggest challenge in writing Genesis was trying to create some tension and suspense because readers of the other three books know the outcome to some extent already. With that in mind, I focused on Mark's initial reaction to finding out the camera had the magical properties and how he failed to change that first future photo because he didn't know what it was. I'm pretty sure readers know I always like to cause Mark mental anguish because I'm evil that way. I loved turning the thumbscrews in that part.

My other motivation was showing the back story with him and Mo, and him and Jessie. Once again, with Jessie's story, I was limited by the time frame. I wish I could go back and make him and Jessie have a longer relationship before No Good Deed began, but I can't now.

Anyway, so far, readers who have already read the series are still enjoying the book, and I've only had one review or feedback from a new reader. It was positive, thankfully. I kept worrying, 'would there be enough action and suspense  to compel new readers to continue reading the series?' I hope there is, but I'm not sure I have an answer to that yet.

If you're a new reader to the series, I would LOVE to hear from you either in a reply to this post, as a review on Amazon or in an email.


  1. If you told your story, page number shouldn't matter. Length, short or long, isn't the issue with me so much as whether the story itself was paced right. I've read 300 page books that only had 80 pages of story. I've also read 300 pages books that felt incomplete, like I'd been shortchanged. Personally I have a problem writing the endings. I tend to be too abrupt. Conflict resolution - done. I'm aware of the problem and thank God for my critique partners who help me through it.

  2. You're exactly right. I told the story I wanted to tell and I didn't see a point in adding filler just to make it longer. At least, not to the actual story. I did add some bonus material at the back of the book, deleted scenes, flash-fictions, etc.

    I also tend to end books somewhat abruptly. I guess I dislike epilogue stuff. If I've written the story right, there shouldn't be any hanging plot lines and the conflict should have resolved. I don't see a lot of point is then going on to sum everything up. I think it's why I hated essay writing. That last paragraph that is a 'conclusion' that simply sums up what I wrote about in the heart of the essay drove me nuts. Why sum up what I've just written? Didn't the reader just READ those facts?