Prologues – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly!

imagesI have a prologue in one of my works in progress, but I have questioned if I should keep it or not, and at one time deleted it. Why, because like many of you, I ‘ve heard that prologues are out. Most agents hate them.

I’m still contemplating if I should keep the prologue in my story or not. It raises questions, conveys some sense of mystery, and launches the reader into the story in a compelling way. I think it adds to the story and provides need-to-know information.

Prologues aren’t all bad. They can help or hinder your book, according to Ryan G. Van Cleave,  Writer’s Digest.

Good Prologues

  • Raise questions, convey some sense of mystery, launch us into the story in a compelling way.
  • Operate like blurry first memories of childhood that are also deep with stain.
  • Foreshadow
  • A well-wrought prologue paired with a thoughtful epilogue gives a nice bookend feel to your novel.

Bad Prologues

  • Are used for info-dumps
  • Mislead the reader. They give the reader a false impression of how the story will go.
  • Rely on the prologue to set the mood.
  • Too long
  • Not starting off Strong.

So what’s the answer? Do we or do we not use Prologues? There isn’t a one size fits all to this question. The choice must be made on an individual basis using the best sense of what makes your story work. With that in mind, most professionals would say leave it out.

Maybe the best solution, and the one I’m working on, is to incorporate my prologue into the story by making it Chapter One.

Something to think about.

-Jan R


Prologues – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly!

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