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How and How Not to Rock an Amazing Prologue

Prologues, prologues, prologues. *tisks*

I actually haven’t come across a prologue or introduction in a book for a verrrryyy lonnnnggggg timeeeeeeee!

And maybe there’s a good reason for that. (aka I’m teaching you how to rock a prologue today!!)Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 2.39.03 PM

1. Should I Have a Prologue?

Here’s why you shouldn’t have a prologue:

There’s something called subtext in a book. Now, subtext actually gets killed off when authors say every little detail, which is usually what a prologue is all about. The writers believe that, without this prologue, readers will never know what’s happening! 

But that’s not true.

Readers are extremely smart.

K.M Weiland says, 

The problem is that when you spell out your character’s motivations right up front, you’re usually going to be killing a ton of the story’s potential subtext. Who a character is, why he behaves the way he does, and what motivates him are the nine-tenths of his iceberg. These are the keys to his personality. Give readers the keys right away, and they will have nothing left to unlock and discover. Dramatize this scene, and they will have nothing left to imagine for themselves.

If you have it written, look at your first chapter. Whether or not you have a prologue, that chapter should be extremely strong. (The strongest one of them all, in fact.) If you have a prologue, look at it (and if not, imagine a type of prologue that could be used.)   Mostly likely, you’ll find that your first chapter (should be) is stronger than your prologue

But why?

Well…prologues are usually information dumps. Once you really think about it, that’s what they literally are. 

So, think about it: You’re supposed to have a Hook at the very beginning of your book. This is a (usually) singular sentence which grabs readers attention.  

And now, think for a moment; who wants their Hook to be all about information? I don’t, for one.

No matter how awesome or cool the information might be, all the readers who would’ve enjoyed your thrilling, amazing book? Gooonnnneee

 

And yet…there are some ways that you can make the prologue work. 

 Here are the reasons why you can have a prologue:

 

2. Should I Have a Prologue?

Okay, so, deep truth coming at you: Sometimes…sometimes stories actually need a prologue, even if it destroys some stuff. But the prologue must contain these qualities for it to actually work, and not just be some weird, unwanted, info dump. 

Remember what I said about the information being the Hook? Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be. The most effective prologues contain almost nothing else except the Hook itself. 

Yup. Whatever beginning you want to have in your story, whether it be a Prologue, Introduction, or Chapter One, it has to have a Hook, otherwise, why would any of us be interested in the story? 

Learn How to Create Amazing Hooks Here

 

How Can I Make a Good Prologue Work?

Once again, I quote from K.M Weiland:

A good prologue doesn’t even attempt to draw the reader into its characters or its story narrative. It exists merely to impart some important information (be it a bad-guy perspective, an event that occurs previous to the story, an event that occurs after the story, etc.)  If the writer delivers that information as quickly and sparsely as possible, he’ll convey the necessary information and still leave the story itself (including its arc and natural character progression) fully intact.

Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 2.39.03 PM

Simply just make sure you follow these two rules:

  1. Unless absolutely necessary, skip the prologue.
  2. If a prologue is unavoidable: make it short, and as little-drawn narration as possible. 

 

What do you guys think of Prologues?

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment down below.

Thanks for reading!

Mary

 

 

 

 

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How and How Not to Ace an Amazing Prologue-4

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