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Why use prelude instead of prologue?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Avara, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

    I'm a fan of prologues. This debate has been going on since I joined these forums. Slowly, I've come to understand why a prologue should rarely be used. If you're writing a story set in a modern time, but want to write a prologue to show what happened 100/1,000/10,000 years ago, that is back story. Find a way to insert it into the story through setting or dialogue.

    Currently, I'm of the opinion that prologues should be used to tie books of a series together. A recap of previous events so the reader doesn't have to reread all of the previous books to keep up with the current book.
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Anything good can be done badly. Prologues aren't intrinsically good or intrinsically bad.

    What happens with me as a reader is I'm looking to engage with the story. Far too often, the prologue has one of two effects on me. One, if it's the History of the World kind of prologue, I simply don't get engaged. There's no immediacy, no conflict, just backstory.

    Two, a character does engage me. These are usually prologues that center on a specific event. I get drawn in to the drama. Then I turn the page and it's Chapter One, and none of those characters are on stage any more. As a reader, I have to start again. It feels, regardless of what the author intended, very much like a "and then he woke up" kind of story. I thought it was about one thing, but now it's about something else.

    As a writer, I totally get it. I find myself drawn to writing prologues, especially because I have a created world in which I've written multiple stories and I really want the reader to know that all these stories take place in the same world. I have to keep reminding me that the reader isn't here for the world, he's here for the story. So far, none of my prologues have made it to the finish line.
  3. Maria0Vee

    Maria0Vee New Member

    I am writing a book abut a girl from NYC. I have decided to discribe the five boroughs and interesting neighborhood's in each one. What the touristy spots are about each one. A breif bit about each place like who lives there and other bits of info. This way when I mention Riverdale or Williamsburg, you can get an idea or image in your head as to where it is and what it may look like. Can this be a Prologue? would help get people to go back while reading so they can say where is Gramercy Park? Then the first chapter would be the beging of the main character's life. Where she is and how she got back there. then you meet the other characters as the book and chapters continue. would that be good for many who have never known or lived in NYC?
  4. Maria0Vee

    Maria0Vee New Member

  5. Maria0Vee

    Maria0Vee New Member

    I am currently writing a book about NYC. I wanted to add a prologue to the book to make things easier for the readers. I wanted to discribe the five boroughs and the interesting neighborhoods in each one. What torristy things are in each for people to visit. This way when I mention Gramercy Park or Williamsburg people can imagine the people and know it's location. Giving them an idea of things. In case they have never been to NYC or have lived there. Should I place it before chapter one or scratch the whole idea? Then chapter one would begin withy main character. How she is doing, where she lives and how she got there. The rest of the characters will fillow as the book goes along. First time writing a book. Nervous about it all since I didn't go to school for literature, writing or journalism. Would preform a professional oppinion.
  6. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

    I suspect that is just the sort of prologue reader do skip over. Get to the story. If you want to include that sort of info, you could put it at the back and just let readers know it's there if they are interested. Or skip it and let them Google NYC.

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