SDWEG member and frequent presenter, Larry Edwards, shares his thoughts, and the thoughts of many others, about whether or not to include a prologue. Thanks for sharing, Larry.

Polishing Your Prose

The Prologue Question: To P or not to P?

hamlet.jpgShould one choose to tread the primrose path to prologue, ’tis a dalliance I wish not to rede.*

As a judge for the San Diego Book Awards, I recently read about a dozen novels, some as published books, some as unpublished manuscripts. Most of them had prologues—and in every case of a book with a prologue I lowered the author’s score.

The problem?

These so-called prologues either were not prologues, or they were unnecessary, or they could (should) have been Chapter 1, or they contained background information that could (should) have been disclosed later, in a context within the story that would have been more meaningful to the reader.

In one case, Chapter 1 opened with: Three years earlier. Huh? How can the prologue be a prologue if it occurs three years after the beginning of the story? Open with Three…

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