I am writing the second novel in the Sabatini sequence – The Ministry of Lightning, that for some obscure reasons (you’ll have to read the book to know) comes after The Ministry of Thunder.
Computer mishaps apart, it’s going nicely, with just one problem: I have two prologues.
Now, my friend Claire, that is a fine writer, and not a hack like myself, repeatedly told me that novels need no prologue and epilogue, because that’s something that happens in theatre, not in books.
But what the heck, I grew up watching James Bond movies, and I like a nice pre-title sequence. To set the scene and mood, to hook the readers, to start with a bang, but also with a few questions.
Only, for Ministry II, I have two.
The first, that was the first one I wrote, sets up the major bad guy, and just like in the first novel, features characters and actions that will reappear only six/eight chapters into the novel. It’s got the right sense of menace, and as it closes, we are dropped back into the action.
Nice and smooth.
The second is a nice little set-piece that (re-)introduces us to Felice Sabatini, presents a new character, and heats things up with a little action and a little Wow!-factor.
It features a lengthy (for my standards) fight sequence, but is otherwise a straightforward piece of pulp.
Now, as I said, I tend to disregard my friend Claire’s rule about prologue, but I agree that two is one too many.
So what I decided to do was to take the second piece – that works nicely as a stand-alone – and write it as a one-shot 4000-words short story, that I will post to my Patrons in the next days – possibly even tonight.
It will be called The Inn of the Four Winds… or possibly The Inn of the Four Quarters…
The action picks up Sabatini a few months after we saw him start on foot to go back to Shanghai from the Taklamakan desert, and finds him sore-footed, tired, and as usual not very keen in getting involved with troublemakers.
It’s going to be fun.