Posted by: nancycurteman | July 11, 2017

Add a Prologue? Yes. No. Maybe so.

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Should I add a prologue to my novel? This is a question that authors often grapple with. The answer is Yes. No. Maybe so. The definition of a prologue doesn’t help much in our effort to answer this question. A prologue is for the author’s purpose simply a separate introductory section of a literary work. Not enough information to make an intelligent decision. To add or not to add still remains a question. Let us explore the possibilities of “yes, no, or maybe so.”

Yes, add a prologue if it
• is essential to the novel
• provides reader information about the history leading up to the present action in the novel such as a war.
• hooks a reader by raising compelling questions
* provides the reader with a reason for which the story is being told. Maybe an old man writing a memoir about his life for his children.
• provides a character’s perspective or point of view that may not appear again in the novel until much later.

No do not add a prologue if
• it is a stalling tactic
• the information in the prologue can be woven into the body of the story.
• the story can survive without it
• it gets too long
• it is true that most agents hate them

Maybe consider a prologue if
• it provides backstory on a character that would not fit in the novel
• you remove one you’ve written and the story doesn’t make sense without it
• you’re sure your readers don’t mind starting a story twice because that is what happens when a prologue precedes chapter 1.

Prologues may have their place in your novel but consider carefully before deciding “yes, no, or maybe” add a prologue.

More Tips:

How to Format a Novel

How Authors Use Foreshadowing

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