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Prologues? To use them or not to use them?
Kelly Arlia
Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012 4:34 PM
Joined: 2/10/2012
Posts: 2

I am new to this site so this may have been discussed.  I have been writing for many years and have used a prologue in a lot of my stories.  Some of my writer friends swear by them, and a few think they aren't needed.  I'm curious to what other opinions are.  I like mine for background information that will come to play later in the story.

Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 4:47 PM
Joined: 2/25/2012
Posts: 1

Hi Kelly, I just joined the site today, and your topic interests me b/c there's debate about it, as you already know.  I have seen one really good prologue in a contemporary novel, Robin Merrow MacCready's Buried. Other than MacCready's, I haven't seen any in the books I've been reading. As for me, I experimented with a prologue in my first novel (YA, unpublished) but ditched it because I discovered I'd used it to create interest that needed to be in the story and wasn't quite there at that time. But I learned from the experiment. Ultimately I reworked the entire book. No prologue. Bottom line: MacCready's prologue is very effective, so if it works in your book, I'd stick with it.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 5:02 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662

I used to have a prologue. It fit some of the basic rules:

1) Creates interest in the story.
2) Happens in a separate time/place, yet is essential to the plot.
3) It's short.

Then I learned that many readers skip prologues. So, if you're writing a prologue, you have to start the story again in chapter 1. That is when I changed my Prologue to Chapter 1, and it has served me better.

Asses the purpose and necessity of your prologue. If you don't need it, toss it, or change it. You shouldn't have to add one because you think it's necessary. I have found that some stories are just stronger without one.
Kelly Arlia
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:06 PM
Joined: 2/10/2012
Posts: 2

Thanks.  I haven't been on this site for while, so just now reading your responses.  I'm going to wait until I am all finished and see if I need it.  Your input is appreciated.
Robert C Roman
Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 7:02 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 376

Occasionally it's been useful in series, when the prologue is a short, one scene 'what has gone before', but I still wish I could do without them in that case.

On the other hand, my current WIP has something prologue-like that I think may just wind up being 'chapter one'. It's a short story (10 KWords) about one of the characters, which occurs twenty years before the main story. It's followed by anotehr 10 KWords (in 1-2 KWord shorts) covering the intervening 20 years, followed by the meat of the story.

Which isn't really a traditional 'prologue', now, is it? *sheepish*
Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 4:32 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 427


Welcome to Book Country!

There are some editors and agents out there who really dislike a prologue... However, if you do use it, make sure it's short and sweet, and adds a unique glimpse to your book that couldn't be accomplished by a first chapter.

If it's too long, turn it into a chapter, or else it might fail to hook the reader and make her read more!

My 2 cents.

Maya Starling
Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 10:59 AM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

I was recently wondering the same thing and learned that Prologue's are frowned upon, especially when a lot of authors use it to tell the backstory or for infodumps (in Fantasy particularly).

I've gone back and forth with my prologue/first chapter but I'm not sticking to it being the first chapter, although quite shorter than all the rest, but it works better as a first chapter anyway.
TE Hauxwell
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 2:42 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 18

I originally started Busy My Heart without a prologue but as I firmed up my ideas for how the plot would eventually unravel I decided I needed a prologue because telling that story of Freddy and Donald's injuries became vital to the plot and I didn't feel there was a place in the rest of the story to shoe horn in a flash back sequence. It would have felt more awkward than a prologue.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 11:26 PM
I had a prologue once. But that was before I realized I could put the gist of what it contained into backstory and scatter it through the first chapters, which worked much better.

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013 2:00 PM
All these queries about what's right and what's not right when writing make for interesting conversation but as for evincing concrete answers it has none. We write primarily in a conventional manner because those who buy books read primarily in a conventional manner. That there is nothing new under the authorial sun still pertains. Great writing, merely good writing for that matter, provides answers without ever asking the questions. As for including a prologue, it's best to keep it brief. A prologue is an opened door, a momentary pause in the foyer before entering the main room. In my rambunctious novel The Commercial I include a prologue to set the atmosphere by stating that Lance Pratt's year in the green hell of Vietnam was hardly much worse than the crass commercialism of an American society whose very soul had been crushed by the decade of the "dinner war" denoted not by great battles and grand heroics but by body counts, as though the horror of war had been been condensed to a frivolous sporting event, and in the process had so dehumanized American society that the only "reality" of any significance was what came projected from a television set. I think there should be a sufficient hiatus between prologue and first chapter; otherwise, the prologue, no matter its designation, becomes the first chapter.

Mimi Speike
Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013 2:29 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1016

I'm considering a prologue, because in my story, told in a vaguely retro style, heavy description, intrusive voice, elaborate phrasing, a Victorian-style prologue could be part of the joke. I haven't made up my mind yet. I have one written that I like a lot, but it may be too much. Too Much Is Not Enough, for this book at least, is my approach, and I have a lot of fun with it.


I say, if a prologue adds something useful, a tone, for instance, why not?


--edited by Mimi Speike on 12/12/2013, 2:32 PM--

Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013 4:57 PM
I see prologues as any other tool of writing and storytelling - something you use when you need to use it.  So far, though, I haven't found much need for prologues.  I have a bunch of novels in the works, but only one of them is going to have one.  (I'm thinking about just making it a first chapter, but given that there's a newspaper article in between it and the next chapter, I think it makes more sense a prologue.)
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 4:53 AM
Joined: 11/17/2016
Posts: 1

nice post but some error.



angela ketty

conract on Assignment help uk.

--edited by angelaketty1989 on 11/17/2016, 4:57 AM--


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