nLast week’s writing prompt focused on writers’ opinions on epilogues. This week’s prompt concerns prologues. Surprise!
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nThe purpose of a prologue is to deliver the necessary background information for the reader to understand the story. Few authors do them well. Books in David Eddings’ related fantasy series, the Belgariad¬† and the Malloreon, begin with prologues that read like religious texts–as he intended. I consider those done well, as they add not only background information for the reader’s understanding, but add to the tone of a story that involves the intimate association of gods.
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nMost prologues simply dump a boring deluge of information upon the reader. Some authors use the prologue as the hook, a device to engage the reader’s interest. I think an author who does that ought to make the prologue into the first chapter.
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nI have used prologues. I find them handy in rough drafts. They provide me with a handy reference when I get deeper into the story and need to refresh my memory about some detail that the first round of self-editing reveals I missed or got wrong. However, by the time I submit the manuscript to the editor, the prologue is gone. Chapter 1 begins the story. If my readers cannot understand the story without explanatory description at the outset, then I have failed my job as a storyteller.
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nHowever, as a general rule, my opinion regarding prologues echoes that for epilogues: don’t do it.
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n#HenHousePublishing #HollyBargoBooks #SpringfieldOHBookFairn

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