Tuesday, May 10, 2011

To Prologue Or Not To Prologue...

It seems to be an ongoing debate...do I write a prologue? Is it needed. Does it help set the stage for my story or is it nothing more than an indulgent way to start off my novel with flair?

The answer to this question? I honestly have no idea. But I'll let you in on a little secret. I always write a prologue. Gasp! I know...they seem to be so Tabu. We don't dare speak of them. But inevitably I write one. And every single time I end up deleting it. Every. Single. Time.

So I've come to the conclusion that for me it's an exercise that helps get me started. Even if it never sees the light of day. So I do write a prologue, but it's basically just for me, if that makes any sense at all.

Still not certain about prologues? Check out this amazing post I found last night when I was procrastinating...I mean writing this very post. Super amazing lit agent Sarah Lapolla with Curtis Brown Ltd. gives some valuable insight into her thoughts on prologues. Check it out here.

So what's your take on the growing debate? Do you prologue?

17 comments:

Liz P said...

I don't really mind reading them too much, unless they seem tacked on or pointless. My current WIP doesn't have a prologue simply because I don't know what would be appropriate to write about. Instead, I just started at Chapter 1.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Have fun with your writing.
If it helps at all, I never read prologues. I skim to where the story starts not where it was or where it will be.

Misha said...

I wrote one for the first version of Doorways, but it vanished when I did what became my official rough draft. :-)

I don't mind prologues as long as they're done for a valid reason.

Backstory dump not being one.

Najela said...

I don't use my prologues either, but I write them, then figure out how I can get all that information into the story. Personally many prologues bother me and I never understand what their point is, but then again, when done well, they can draw me into the story moreso than the actually first chapter. The second types are rare though and they have to be really intriguing for me not to skip them entirely.

Angela Felsted said...

I like prologues and even though I know of lot of people don't, I see a lot of published books with them that are quite good.

I'm not one to put a book down and refuse to buy it just because it has a prologue.

Candyland said...

I also like a prologue if it really benefits the story. I think a lot of stories have them whether they realize it or not.

Laurel Garver said...

I like prologues that are a bit quirky, not written in the same voice as the rest of the book--kind of a side entrance into the story world. Those are cool.

Nikki said...

I have prologues in my first 3 novels - all from a different POV character. In the one I'm working on now, I don't have a prologue!

ketch1714 said...

I love using prologues for my novels, generally to relay crucial events that will lead into the main plot of the novel.

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

I personally don't write them, but I have no problem reading them.

Kristie Cook said...

Usually, the prologues I've written end up being deleted because they became unnecessary. I'm still wondering with my current WIP, though. I found it surprising when I first heard people don't read prologues. I'm always afraid I'll miss something. But, apparently, a lot of people skip them. Thanks for sharing Sarah's post! None of it surprised me...until I got to the epilogue section. Great. Something new to worry about...

salarsenッ said...

I have and I haven't. :) Sometimes the first couple of pages feel like a prologue. I'll then move forward or backward in a story and see where it takes me. For me, it's never on purpose. It's also about how a reader (which could be an agent, editor, etc...) perceive it. My manuscript has a brief beginning and then moves forward ten years. One agent insisted it was a prologue, while another felt it was more the beginning of the story. *shrug*

The Golden Eagle said...

Personally, I love prologues, especially ones that tie in to something significant that happens later in the story--although I hate it when the ending is given away by the prologue, which has happened. :P

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I write YA contemporary which doesn't usually need a prologue. Not long ago, I read a romantic suspense novel that had not one but two prologue. And one of them definitely wasn't necessary. Okay, neither of them was necessary. ;)

LTM said...

And you know, I think that's Okay! Whatever you need to get started, right? And I don't know. So they're taboo. I've got no problem w/a well-written prologue~ :D <3

Becky Taylor said...

I don't prologue. But I always, always, always end up writing about 50 pages and then starting over. I think sometimes those first pages are just for you and then then need to go bye, bye.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I totally agree with you. I've never written a prologue before, but at the beginning of my WiP there is something that probably is a prologue (I just didn't call it that). I know I'm going to cut it, but it definitely helped me get started. A little trampoline, so to speak. :)

Amy