Should you put a prologue at the beginning of your book?
First off, what is a prologue? A prologue is the opening to a story and comes before chapter one. It introduces characters, gives background details and conveys important information to the reader.
Secondly, is a prologue necessary? Well it’s kind of necessary if you think that the reader needs it to unlock and understand the rest of the book.
Now think about this, would you skip a prologue in a book? Readers tend to do this a lot and are impatient to start chapter one. This is because:
- It’s not that interesting or entertaining.
- It’s way to long and they can’t be bothered to read it.
- It has too, too much description and detail
- It has an information overload
- It actually has nothing to do with the story
If you decide to put a prologue into your book, make sure your scene doesn’t lack action and don’t sugar every line with unnecessary information and detail.
Read your work, and put yourself in the place of a reader, and ask yourself, “Will I skip this and go straight to Chapter One?“
I skip prologues sometimes, because they do tend to be way to long and I often find that if you take away the prologue, you still understand the story.
Future tip: If you can understand the story without a prologue, then don’t put it in!
So if you think that your book needs a prologue, then sure, put it in, but make sure it’s absolutely necessary and the reader cannot understand the story without it.
Here are some last tips for writing a prologue:
- Only convey important information, but not too much
- As readers often skip prologues, try to draw them in straight away
- Keep it as short as possible
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