men who hate women 3: where to start
Elmore Leonard said: Avoid prologues: they can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword… A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. He probably also said “go through your first draft and cut the first 60 pages, then see if it all still makes sense. If it does, cut more,” but I can’t find that quote.
If one were to follow this advice with Larsson, I think you’d probably cut the first half or more. Larsson tells us all about our characters up front. And it’s nice, because they’re all resolutely low-concept, hard-to-summarise people. One would be doing a severe disservice to the flavour of the novel to say of his two leads:
He’s an out-of-work journalist with the ethics of a schoolboy hero,
she’s an emotionally damaged, analytically brilliant rape victim.
They fight crime.
…but it would also be true, and you could find all that out about them just from reading the second half.
Wondering how much dissertation I will have to cut, come book time.