“What is past is prologue.” – William Shakespeare
According to Dictionary. com, the first definition of prologue is: a preliminary discourse; a preface or introductory part of a discourse, poem, or novel.
In my next novel, still a work in progress, I begin with a prologue. The prologue reveals a major event in which the two main characters first meet. They do not meet again until eighteen months later, which is Chapter One. However, after hearing much prologue bashing, I did away with it when I started my second edit, working most of the material into the first chapter.
Soon, I hope to go through the manuscript for the third time. I’m thinking about bringing the prologue back. However, the more I read on prologues, the more confused I become. In The Problem with Prologues by Rankin, he mentions that the use of a prologue is lazy writing.
Marg McAlister’s, The Prologue – When to Use One, How to Write One states, “…The prologue is a better option than a first chapter bogged down in detail.”
Says Lital Talmor in Where to Begin? When, Where and How to Write a Prologue, “The prologue is much like an outworker, a wildcard that gives you the chance to begin your story twice, at two different points.” She also says, “Unnecessary prologues are a dangerous lot: at best they are ignored, at worst they turn the reader off.”
I’m wondering, as a reader do you read or skip the prologues? As a writer, do you make use of prologues or avoid them at all costs?
Hopefully your thoughts will help me make a final decision on whether to prologue or not.
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Shakespeare, prologues,