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02 April 2011 @ 08:00 pm
To prologue, or not to prologue...  
How do you feel about prologues? Do you find them useful to engage readers right off the get-go? Or, do you find that they sometimes give away too much information, and you inevitably figure out what twist happens before you really should?

Ultimately, what you do feel is the goal of a prologue? And do you find they are used predominently in a particular genre?

The reason I ask is, I feel as though the novel I've been writing on and off for the past few years has started with one, but I'm not sure if I've utilized it to its full potential, or I'm just using it as a piss-poor chapter holder?

Secondly, if one prologues - is one obligated to epilogue too?

I'd love to hear your thoughts! ♥
Current Mood: curiouscurious
cloned_fiction: mal + jayne celebrationcloned_fiction on April 3rd, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
To me a prologue is written in a place/time/pov you'd find it hard to put into the story. In a murder mystery it might be from the pov of the victim or the murderer for example. Or it could be character development. A look at your protagonist's daily routines if you want to immediately highlight how those routines change with a starting catalyst. It could be a look at the history of a place or culture in a fantasy or sci-fi to give the readers some context, your characters childhood if it's relevant, or the long past beginning of a series of events which started your plot.

I've been guilty to skip a prologue or two, the kind at the start of a classic that attempts to explain context of the book and the history of the author or stuff like that. Epilogue and prologue don't necessarily go together, no need to worry about that. I don't think prologues are a bad element of a book or story any more than any other part. Just depends on if they're necessary and done well.
PaintedTeacherLadydivinitus on April 3rd, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
Ah, it's good to know that some people do skip the prologues! I'm crazy compulsive and always read - but it is important to know what others do, and why!

Knowing this, I guess I then have to ask myself - is the content I have in the prologue vital to the understanding of the story? Would the story work without it? Would the reader fully understand what they are reading?

"Just depends on if they're necessary and well done?" - :) That was my thought.
cloned_fiction: topless jaynecloned_fiction on April 4th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
I've never skipped a prologue that was part of the narrative though, to me they're just chapter 0 instead of chapter 1. I skip the explainy non-narrative kinds which are either an essay on the original author in a re-printed classic or a story from the author on why they wrote the book, or stuff like that which seems unnecessary to the story. Or maybe I'm thinking of forewords... I can't off the top of my head think of any books I've read with prologues, but in television the equivalent would be the teaser bit at the beginning of each episode before the opening credits.