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School’s Out – unpublished prologue

The blog Daily Writing Tips recently published Three reasons to ditch your novel’s prologue. It contains much wisdom. The following extract was part of the pitch that got School’s Out commissioned, and it stayed in the book ‘til very late in the day, but I eventually decided to cut it. My editor was a bit wary of that, but I convinced him. It was fun to write, and helped me establish the tone, but it was the only part of the book not written in the first person by Lee, so it felt out of place. I felt the eventual opening was much stronger because it established the ‘voice’ of Lee, his age, the setting of the book, and his attitude to authority all within the first few lines. Three months ago When the anti-psychotics finally ran out, Alex began to wonder if rescuing his brother from the asylum had been the wisest move. After all, delusional psychopaths with messiah complexes do not make for the easiest of flat mates. By the time the knife made an appearance he was pretty confident that he had made a serious mistake. ‘Dave, what’s the knife for, mate?’ No response. Just the scary eyes, the fixed stare and the knife. ‘Dave? Do you, um, want to talk about it?’ Eyes. Stare. Very big knife. Alex considered his options. He’d seen his brother in the grip of an episode only once, years ago, before he’d been sectioned. It hadn’t been pretty. Since the murders Dave had been resident at a secure facility just up the road. There, on a daily diet of drugs and...