Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 2 years ago

Should you do prologues?

I have been told by people that it is best to not use prologues in writing and just start with the first chapter because they are unnecessary.

5 Answers

  • 2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have guidelines for whether a prologue is appropriate. For many beginners, it's an info-dump on world history, character background, or how the science or society works. That sort of thing is better blended into the story.

    For my own writing, here's the rules I set for myself:

    --The prologue takes place well before the main story or far away from the setting of the rest of the story. Example: The king buries his beloved daughter with a charm which brings harm to anyone who disturbs her grave.

    --The prologue is from the point of view of a character the reader will not meet again. Example: The killer stalks, kills, and disposes of the body of his victim, then goes about his usual business.

    --The prologue's events set the story in motion only upon discovery at another time or place. Example: A tablet explaining time travel is buried deep in the sea, waiting for a time when science and engineering advances both allow its retrieval and suggest mankind is ready for this.

    --The prologue is really the ending, making the rest of the novel a flashback which is crafted in such a way that knowing the ending not only doesn't spoil the story but gives it a depth the reader can appreciate only because she knows how it plays out. Example: A distraught mother visits her adult son's grave. (Later, the book reveals she killed him before he could assassinate a world leader.)

    --The prologue is vital to the story but in a way that is not apparent right away. Example: The little girl next store plays all by herself with whatever she can find in the yard. Only later does the reader learn she's a ghost few people can see.

    It's absolutely vital that the prologue be both short and powerful--and that the first chapter that immediately follows it also has a strong hook to keep the reader going.

  • 2 years ago

    I have a prolog for one novel. The event (a brief conversation) falls between pages 91 and 92 in the text, but are not crucial there, but serve to intrigue the reader into reading more (the characters are Washington and Franklin, and BF wonders about a strange choice of words by GW).

    Source(s): Free, unsolicited plug: the book's title is "Time for Patriots" (two unrelated books by other authors have A before Time)
  • Amber
    Lv 5
    2 years ago

    That's because most of the things you reveal in a prologue can be feed into the book in a far more satisfactory way. Lots of people, myself included, skip prologues because they are just an info dump.

    Some a very well written and very necessary - most are not.

  • 2 years ago

    If the story doesn't work without a prologue, then write a prologue. Otherwise don't. Wanting to use a prologue might be a sign that you've started the story in the wrong place, or are telling the wrong story altogether.

    If your prologue is actually an exciting chapter that belongs in the middle or at the end of the story, chronologically speaking, and you've put it at the front as a way to convince the reader to slog through 10 or 20 boring chapters to get to the good parts, then you probably don't need a prologue. What you probably do need to do is cut those 10 or 20 boring chapters, or figure out a way to make them interesting.

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  • 2 years ago

    A prologue may be unnecessary.

    Or it may not.

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