Anyways, back to the actual article. I was going over the comments I have gotten on my books on Inkpop recently and it came to mind that some people don't mind them and others hate them. So the question came to when is: when is it ever okay to use a prologue and does my story really need one?
Well, does it?
According to A Writer's Guide to Fiction, prologues should be used...:
- To show a scene from the past or near future that may be too jolting in the rest of the story.
- To introduce a character or point of view that may never be seen again in the rest of the story.
- To provide critical infromation about the background, history, etc. that the reader needs to understand in order to understand the rest of the story but may not fit into the rest of the story.
Here's some tips:
Some writers tend to have a prologue when it really isn't needed. For example, if you have a prologue, look and see if that information you have there could be sprinkled into the rest of the story without causing too much problems. If you can fit that information into the rest of the story without changing anything too much, chances are that you don't need that prologue.
In The Cursing, I have a prologue. And in some ways it really isn't needed, but it's important to the story because it shows a) the viewpoint from a character who won't ever get her own point of view again and b) it shows some truth to what really happened in the past. I.e, it shows that Tatiana's aunt lies to her all the time and is evil and mean.
Keep in mind:
- Some readers just plain don't like prologues, even if they are well written and are important to the story. But if you feel that your story must have a prologue, buy all means, go for it!
- Prologues are not meant for info dumping. That's one of the reasons I didn't really liked Ready Player One. It info dumped for the first eighty pages.
- Try to keep it somewhat short. Although there are many books out there where the prologues are quite long (In The Book Theif, the prologue is actually several chapters and lasts more than ten pages).
- It's your book. Even if some one says that you shouldn't have a prologue you don't have to listen to them unless you know that you really don't need one.
I personally don't mind prologues but only when I think they work for the story. \Sometimes, I've seen it where the author has a prologue to remind readers of what happened in the last book. For example, in Eldest, the prologue tells us what happened in Eragon. Sometimes I find this really nice, especially if its been a while since I've read the last book or if it took a while for the book to come out.
So, do you like prologues or not? Does your story have one?