I’ve always enjoyed a prologue… It’s like pre-dinner drinks with canapes, a taster of what’s to come. I particularly like those which hint at the ending – that’s the hook – now I want to know how we arrive at the climactic final pages…

So with this in mind, I’ve decided to do something brave by offering up the prologue to my story.

Skyfall of Feathers.

Someone I once blithely trusted told me that lying naked under a late August sun was like having a cosmic body kiss, like warm melted chocolate, as sweet as molasses.

 I didn’t get it.

So she took my palm and stroked the velvet smooth flesh of the underarm with the tip of a small downy grey feather. It barely touched my skin, just a tickly whisper that hinted of goose bumps and want. She said lazing bare skinned under balmy rays was like receiving a sky fall of feathers that made your body limp and moist, and your breath fast with heat.

I still didn’t get it.

And I couldn’t think of anything worse.

The sun makes me feel captured, trampled upon, each limb held down by an army boot while a defiant torch is shone within a centimetre of each scared retracted pupil. I run from the sun. It makes me bury in darkness.

Maybe that, and my dad’s record collection, and the handful of boyfriends in would-be-headlining-Glastonbury bands, and my tower of vinyl, and the bacchanal summers of ’88 and ’89 – without the sun, holed away in clubs with ecstasy and bass – is why I became a DJ.

I don’t need the light to feel alive. All I need is the record groove, and my headphones, and the sweaty charge of an army of clubbers pulling shapes in an underground burrow, where the only illumination is the knife-like punctuation of a strobe and the inhaled tips of cigarettes and spliffs, to make the blood pump hard, over the limit, through every cell of my body.

Acid house is my sky fall of feathers. It’s my cosmic body kiss.  

But right now, as I’m spread limp, horizontal, nose and left cheek pressed against cold, unyielding floor, I’m praying for light. I can just make out the angled contours of record shelves and the Juno 106 asleep on its stand. I think I can see the headphone lead dangling like life saving rope over the mixer.  I inhale dust and fag ash which dries the nasal membranes and drives saliva away from my mouth. My throat responds with hacking and the anticipation of vomit. My fingers search blind making contact with pointed, jagged shards of what feels like plastic. One, sharp as a shark’s tooth, lodges itself with painful bite under a finger nail.

Then the realisation. The panic.

My records – which ones? How many? –  lay broken.

Then I feel it, the searing pain in my right ankle like it’s skewered on a pitchfork.

And then I hear it, the moans, the gasping above my head.

And then… and then the absurd image of the man in the chair….

Any feedback is most appreciated…

16 responses

  1. I think the first part of the prologue gives an interesting insight into the character of the storyteller and is a good introduction for the reader. I particularly like the second half and the hints it gives of sinister/ dark events. My imagination was running in all directions wondering what could have happened. Definitely hooked me in and made me want to keep reading. Good stuff x

    • Hello! Thank you very much for that – it’s quite tricky finding the right balance, but at the end of the day it is about hooking the reader in and playing with the plot (thank you for the tip on ‘plot and structure’!)

      • Yes, think it’s a good book. I wondered if it was all a bit writing by numbers? But perhaps there is a sort – of formula to writing a good book. There is another book called ‘The Seven Basic Plots’ I think, which argues exactly that, but I haven’t read it yet :0). Really admire you for getting pen to paper and getting started. x

      • I think you are right – it is a little bit painting by numbers, and he tends to err towards thrillers for all his examples, but there are some good tips. Heard of the other book you recommend – will probably give that a read too. I can also suggest another book I found really helpful by David Baboulene – really good and really delves into the power of subtext for story telling!

  2. Intriguing and beautifully written. it makes me want to know more. I guess with novel writing, compared to blogging, you get to have fun with creating characters….

    xx Jazzy

  3. Ok, I am going to be picky and wonder at skyfall in the title and sky fall in the text.

    Also ‘bury into darkness’?

    And not sure about the last line…too many ‘and thens’…? Do you give too much away? I am not sure I need the image of the man…where do the moans come from? Who is it? I first read it as coming from the room above. Why are they moaning? Good moans or bad moans? The image gives a more conclusive judgement…

    Love it though…a world away from what I know, which makes it intriguing.

    I hope this is helpful and who am I to know better? But from your lovely comment on my blog I am inspired to be honest, as a reader. Don’t hate me!


    • Course I don’t hate you – you silly moo! Thank you for taking the time to write a very considered response, and on the back of that – I agreed with the too many ‘and thens’, and made some changes. Good, that it got you asking all those questions! X.

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