I love that today I get to have Jessica Brody, author of Unremembered (aka the books I've been coveting for months), here on the blog to share the original prologue of Unremembered. Make sure you enter to win the contest below for a finished copy of her book so you can compare the original prologue to the finished product.
Advantage You: A Look at a Deleted Prologue
by Jessica Brody
I’m going to tell you a secret. And it’s a big one. Are you ready? Are you sure? Can you handle it?
The first draft of UNREMEMBERED was...well, it kinda sucked. Actually, come to think of it, most first drafts of books kinda suck. That’s why they’re called first drafts. Or as I like to call them, “exploration” drafts. Where you get to know the characters and the story and you get to write as much crappy dialogue and cliché descriptions as you want and no one cares! (Because no one ever sees it!)
Once you’ve explored the story for a few months, gotten all the clichés and bad dialogue out of your system, only then can you go in, polish it up and make it shine. But until you actually finish a first draft, you have no idea what needs to stay and what needs to go. What’s good and what’s just plain embarrassing.
Okay, now I’m going to tell you another secret. Are you ready? Are you sure? Right, right, we’ve already been through this. Here it goes...
The second draft of UNREMEMBERED was...well, only slightly better.
I’ll be honest, this book was a challenge for me to write. It was my first book outside of the contemporary genre and it required a few more drafts than most of my other books. The plot is also rather complex (and it sets up two more books in the trilogy), so it took a lot of trial and error to make it work the way I wanted it to.
One of the things that was inserted into an earlier draft and then removed from a subsequent draft was a variation on the prologue. When I first came up with the idea for the book, I knew it would start with a girl waking up among the wreckage of a plane crash with no memories. I just loved the imagery of a girl opening her eyes to nothing but open water and debris without a clue as to how she got there. I could see it in my mind so clearly. But as I started to revise the book and get into more of the nitty gritty plotting, I had the idea to put a scene before that. One that was kind of mysterious and vague and gave the reader a glimpse of the girl’s life before the crash. She wouldn’t remember it when she woke up in the ocean, but the reader would. And therefore the reader would be one step ahead of her throughout the book...knowing something she didn’t.
So I wrote the prologue you’ll see printed below.
But that very reason I wrote it was actually the same reason I took it out. I decided I didn’t want the audience to be one step ahead of the character. I wanted them to be in her shoes the whole time. I wanted them to discover her past right along with her. And I almost felt like providing the reader this little glimpse was like cheating my main character. Giving the audience an unfair advantage in solving the mystery.
So I removed it.
Now the unfair advantage is yours. If you’re reading this, it means you will not only be one step ahead of the character when you read the book, but also one step ahead of anyone who wasn’t wise enough to stop by The Irish Banana blog. (Fools!)
So...congratulations! Don’t you feel lucky?
However, two words from this prologue did actually make it into the final book. Since I already gave you the advantage, I’ll let you figure out which ones on your own. :)
And if you do read the book, come back and comment. Let me know if you agree with my choice to remove it.
I must warn you, though, this is an unedited scene. You know when you watch deleted scenes from movies and the footage is all grainy and un-color corrected and has those weird borders around the screen? Well, think of this as the book equivalent.
So without further ado, I give you...the alternate prologue.
With shaking hands I press the pen to the paper, pushing down so hard, I almost rip clean through. Despite my efforts to steady my fingers, the letters emerge rough and clumsy. Childlike.
I fold up the small page and tuck it into my pocket, shoving it down. Deep down. So that it can’t fall out somewhere along the way.
A knock comes at the door. I open it to find him standing on the front porch. His hair tousled from the wind. His dark eyes shining. He smiles.
It gives me strength. Just as it always does.
Good, I think. I need all the strength I can get.
“You pack light,” he teases, glancing at my empty hands.
I reach up to touch the locket dangling from my neck, running my fingertip against the smooth metal clasp. I hold his gaze tightly as I say, “I have everything that I need.”
He grins and pulls me close. Breath-stealing close. I inhale the scent of him. Trying desperately to commit it to memory. To make it a permanent part of me.
“So do I,” he replies. Then he kisses me. The kind of kiss that’s meant to last five hundred years. But is still never long enough.
I think about the note in my pocket. About what it will mean in only a few hours. I have never lied to him. I have never kept anything from him. Until now. And it kills me.
But I'm doing this for him. For us. Because I love him.
And he will know soon enough.
“Are you ready to go?” he asks, reaching for my hand. I grasp it. Squeeze it. Vowing to never let go.
“Yes,” I whisper.
For him, I tell myself one last time. Because I’ve always loved him. And because it’s the only way.
the only way.
He will know soon enough. And by then it will all be over.
So?! Pretty awesome, right? Want to win your own copy of this incredible book? Just fill out the rafflecopter!