I was watching Perception last night and the episode was titled “Prologue.” At first, I thought it was an old episode, except all the episodes recently have been new. So I checked the date on the description and sure enough it was a new episode. I was momentarily confused because it basically served as a prequel. We all love and hate prequels. Writers may hate them more than readers and for completely different reasons.
For this to make sense, I’m going to rewind about four years ago. When I first wrote “Awakened” it was titled “The Body.” For a while I thought it was perfect. As I write “Awakened” and change so many things I realize I’m falling more toward 3 & 4. If you read my Facebook page, you’ll notice I’ve posted this before. As I go through “Awakened” I feel more like 2 & 5.
And this is why I say writers likely hate prequels more than readers. After I decided “The Body” was a bunch of crap, I considered a different angle and instead wrote “Punished” (not currently available). When I took a hard look at “Punished” I told myself there was too much information that couldn’t be put in the book without making it well over 400 pages. So I needed to go back and write “Awakened.” As I get into the heart of the story, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should’ve done this first. Now, I have all these changes that will need to take place in “Punished” for everything to make sense. Let me give you an example. “Awakened” has a character that does not appear in “Punished” because she was added for logical reasons. This means when I work on “Punished” I have to reconfigure the story to include this additional character.
If that doesn’t make sense, then think about it like this. Star Wars first came out as the middle part of the story. Years later, they decided to make what is supposed to be the beginning of the story. This means all those pieces that talked about the beginning of the story in the first set of movies needed to match. Here’s another example: Hannibal Lecter. The Lecter movies were made and produced out of order. What is supposed to be the first movie (Hannibal Rising) didn’t come out until 2007, twenty-one years after the movie that should be the second in the series (Manhunter). Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be if one wrong thing was done? Of course then it gives the ultimate excuse for a remake.
This doesn’t mean writers don’t love prequels. Sadly, we love them for the same reasons we hate them. I can change, change, change the prequel and if need be, I can go back and fix the other books/movies/stories to match what I included in the prequel. Sounds messed up if you ask me. Then again, nobody’s perfect. Not even writers.