I've once heard there are 2 types of writers, and I am definitively an architect. I can write down a few hundred pages of worldbuilding and characters, but I scrap most of my stories after the first chapter, because my writing doesn't live up to my expectations.
My story is set in an medieval fantasy world. In the forest, covered by the shadow of the incoming clouds, hundreds of Orcs march towards the hillfort, which is held by a small garrison of humans and serves as a prison. The protagonist of this short introduction is a mighty warlord amongst the orcs. His brother has been imprisoned under false allegations and he has mobilized an army to free him. Once he enters the prison he doesn't find his brother, but a secret passage where he frees an immortal being (the true protagonist), who has been betrayed by the self-proclaimed gods of this world, who feared that he might challenge their undisputed rule, if they don't stop his sudden rise to power.
I've tried a few different ways to start this prologue already
- I've tried to start with a "cinematic intro". In my imagination this idea turned into the first few minutes of a movie. In the end I spent way to much time into describing the situation (I also tend to use long sentences with lots of adjectives), and then struggled to cut to the action fluently, which would discourage any reader).
An sole eagle flies over an stone tower in the middle of the woods. Covered by the trees there is a small fortress, a strong wind sweeps in dark and mighty storm clouds, the dives in the forest, passes a column of big, grim-looking creatures and lands on the hand of the orcish warlord.
I've also tried to start with some kind of exposition-dump. I am big fan of Tolkien, as he creates a living world right at the start of his books, despite writing half a dozen pages just describing a hobbit hole, but I didn't like the kind of narrator he uses. I decided against it, because I couldn't find a way to build it into my prologue without replacing it completely.
Many books I've read start with a casual conversation (like in asoiaf or metro) as their prologue. I liked that kind of introduction, but I often end up ruining its purpose of a fluid transition right into the story by letting my characters talk in exposition-dumps. A lot of things would just be senseless for a reader, who hasn't the same understanding of my plot as I do at this early point.
I tried ignoring my crappy prologue and just going on beyond it, but ignoring the 'groundwork' feels like building a foundation on sand.
How can I turn all my world-building into a successful prologue? How can it be interesting for the reader?