Life of a Writer: #11. Prologue to a Mystery

After a reading at the Rowers' Pub Reading Series (November 5, 2012) in Toronto where I read the first chapter of the mystery I am working on, Todd Swift (who also read that evening) suggested I include a prologue before the first chapter. He thought I needed something to foreshadow the events that would occur after the first few chapters. Since I agreed with this suggestion, I proceeded to write a prologue (see below). A similar sequence occurs at some point into the mystery, except at that juncture the names of the characters are used. I also asked a colleague from my writing group (Moosemeat Writers Group) to look over the prologue (Isabel Matwawana) and make suggestions. Since her comments were all helpful, I looked over the areas she alluded to and edited further.

Todd Swift also felt the title (I had particularly asked for feedback on this from the audience at Rowers before I read), The White Ribbon, ought not to be used as such as there is a famous film of the same title. When he learned about the white ribbon campaign of men against violence against women, he suggested some variation. At the moment, I am calling it simply White Ribbon.

 As you can see, feedback is valuable/invaluable to a writer. I appreciate any comments anyone might care to make!




White Ribbon


Mid November

The coordinator for this particular Sunday at a church in downtown Toronto had started to greet the people, but the service had not yet begun. At the sound of a scream in the distance, she stopped and looked around.  Although they had started many services with many kinds of distractions, she appeared unable to continue.
            After what seemed a long time, but was really only a few seconds, one of the parishioners jumped up and started across the wooden floor. He was followed by a woman, who was heavier and slower than he was. The minister was not far behind. They headed toward a staircase down into the basement where there was a washroom for women and, a little further along the corridor, one for men. Small washrooms, each with two cubicles. Between them in the hall was a water fountain. The stairs were of the same heavy wood that extended throughout the church, but the floor in the basement was tiled. The sound had stopped, but just as the male parishioner came down into the hall, a woman emerged from the women’s washroom.
            “On the floor,” she said in a quavering voice. “Feet… sticking out.” She was visibly shaken, her face contorted with horror at whatever she had seen.
Posted on November 9, 2012 .