DL Fowler's Blog

I Feel Like Being a Tease

Posted in Lincoln, Lincoln's Diary, Prologues by DLFowler on February 4, 2011

Below is the prologue to Lincoln’s Diary – a novel.  Tomorrow another excerpt.

Prologue

 “As God is my judge, I believe if I had been in the city, it would not have happened…” US Marshall – District of Columbia, Col. Ward Hill Lamon.

 Martinsburg, West Virginia, May 7, 1893

 Col. Lamon drew shallow, raspy breaths as he lay near death. He clutched President Lincoln’s private diary to his chest. He had not opened it, even once, since the President delivered it to him just before the assassination. Only Lincoln knew what it contained, and he never intended for its entries to live on after he was gone.

With the taste of death filling his nostrils, Lamon arched his back and wheezed as he fought to expel his final instruction — to keep the diary safe.

“You need to rest now, Father.”  Dolly wanted him to be comfortable in his final moments.

Lamon reached for her arm. His eyes bulged as if his words would force their escape by any conceivable means.

President Lincoln’s friend and bodyguard carried two measures of guilt to the precipice of eternity. He had disobeyed Lincoln’s order to destroy the diary, a failure he tried to excuse by complaining it was all he had left of his friend. On the other hand he lamented obeying Lincoln’s directive to travel to Richmond despite numerous threats against the president’s life.  By doing so he was absent from the Capitol on the fatal night of April 14. And Lamon berated himself for the remainder of his days. “As God is my judge, I believe if I had been in the city, it would not have happened.”

When Col. Ward Hill Lamon’s last breath slipped away, his final instructions dissolved behind his lips.

After kissing her father on his forehead, Dolly pried the diary from his grip and whispered, “I love you.”

Past as prologue?

Posted in Inside a Writer's Head, Prologues, Writing by DLFowler on August 21, 2010

There are times when I wonder if the problem with publishing isn’t that editors and agents are out of touch with what readers actually like to read.

Now this isn’t about my book. I’ve never submitted it with a prologue because agents almost universally say not to – people never read them. So why is it that when I asked 400 Facebook fans if they read prologues all 12 respondents declared “yes”, most with emphasis?

And I wonder how many other absolutes don’t hold water either.

I have now idea whether I’ll add a prologue. Instead I may write an alternative history of Lincoln’s assassination and weave it into my main character’s story by alternating chapters – a chapter of the past, a chapter of the present, etc. The hard part with that would be jarring the reader with frequent and dramatic changes in voice.

Damn, that would break another absolute.