Friday, March 29, 2013
Writing Again, Part I: The Prequel Trap
I've started writing Lords of Kobol - Book Five: Of Gods and Titans. Despite the number in the title, it is a prequel to the trilogy (Books One, Two and Three).
Writing a prequel is not easy. More often than not, a prequel involves characters and situations the audience is already familiar with, and therefore whatever peril they find themselves in is transitory. You know they'll get out of the scrape because they have to be an old man in that later movie you're already familiar with.
I still think they get a bad rap.
Technically speaking, my trilogy is a prequel to the TV shows Battlestar Galactica and Caprica. Thankfully, because it takes place millennia before those shows, my books didn't have to deal with characters everyone knew and loved, and people whose destinies were known. (There are two characters in my books that appear in the shows, but they don't really count, being outside of time and space and all.) There was the barest skeleton of events that had to happen (Athena's death, the "Blaze," the Galleon, etc.), but those few details and their couching in a religious context gave me plenty of latitude.
Book Five is different. It's still a prequel to the TV shows, but it's also a direct prequel to the LoK trilogy. As such, there will be characters from the earlier books that appear in the new one. The trick is to make the goings-on interesting enough that you don't care that you already know what happens to Athena or Ares or Zeus.
One way that I'll be helping that along is by minimizing their roles.
Of course, the Olympians play a big role in the story, but they will not be the primary focus. I will not fall into The Matrix Trap, either. You know: introduce a bunch of new characters in the sequel who take on disproportionately large roles in the franchise at the expense of the characters you do actually care about.
Like this guy.
This seems contradictory, but I'm hoping to walk that tightrope successfully.
In the coming weeks, I'll keep posting blogs like these. Next week, "The Problem with BSG" or maybe "Retconning." I'll decide later.