How to Use Prologues, Part 1, Overview 

open book with sketch of 3D pirate and treasure on the left and a sailing ship on the right.
Image courtesy of Tumisu via Pixabay

Hi SErs! It’s a day of Harmony here at Story Empire 🙂 Today, I’d like to introduce a series of posts on Prologues and their uses, as well as how to do them well and what pitfalls to avoid.

Some people have strong feelings about the use of prologues, either for or against. While others believe they have a place in certain fiction. I sit firmly in the latter camp. If a prologue will enhance your story, then use one. As this series progresses, we’ll look at prologues and the pros and cons of their use in more detail.

Overview of the Post Series:

  1. How to Use Prologues, Part 1, Overview
  2. How to Use Prologues, Part 2, What a Prologue Is and Isn’t
  3. How to Use Prologues, Part 3, Prologue Do’s & Don’ts
  4. How to Use Prologues, Part 4, Does Your Book Need a Prologue?
  5. How to Use Prologues, Part 5, Backstory Delivery
  6. How to Use Prologues, Part 6, Spoilers Ahoy
  7. How to Use Prologues, Part 7, Unexpected Clues
  8. How to Use Prologues, Part 8, Outsider’s Report
  9. How to Use Prologues, Part 9, In Media Res
  10. How to Use Prologues, Part 10, How to Write a Prologue
  11. How to Use Prologues, Part 11, Bookending Prologues & Epilogues (including uses of Epilogues)
  12. How to Use Prologues, Part 12, Summary

When you write a good prologue, and have a valid reason for using one, it will enhance your story rather than detract from it. Often, a prologue is used to begin the narrative at a time point removed from where the main story begins. It could be months prior or decades, or even just hours. It could come from an alternate universe or different point of view. Any of these could be to insert clues for your reader or to give them some brief background. We’ll take a look at all of these elements later in the series.

That’s it from me today. I hope you’ll find this series of posts useful. I’ll see you again on Friday 6th May, when we’ll take a look at What a Prologue Is and Isn’t 🙂

Bio Box for Harmony Kent that links to her website www.harmonykent.co.uk

©2022 Harmony Kent

78 thoughts on “How to Use Prologues, Part 1, Overview 

  1. Pingback: How to Use Prologues, Part 6, Spoilers Ahoy | Story Empire

  2. Pingback: Writing Chapter One – Tips | Story Empire

  3. Pingback: How to Use Prologues, Part 5, Backstory Delivery | Story Empire

  4. Pingback: How to Use Prologues, Part 4, Does Your Story Need a Prologue? | Story Empire

  5. Pingback: How to Use Prologues, Part 3, Prologue Dos and Don’ts | Story Empire

  6. Pingback: How to Use Prologues, Part 2, What A Prologue Is and Isn’t  | Story Empire

  7. Pingback: #ReblogAlert- #TwoFer #ThisWeekOnStoryEmpire & #SmorgasbordWeeklyRoundUp | The Write Stuff

  8. I love a good prologue. Martha Grimes had outstanding ones to start her early mysteries. Hooked me every time. She showed the first victim and then in chapter one went to the detective’s POV who had to solve the murder. It worked for me!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Count me as totally Pro Prologue, Harmony. I think I’ve used them in every book I’ve written, but I hope I’ve done it in an entertaining way that sets up the story to come. Using one as a huge backstory info dump would be a bad idea, I think, but done properly they can be very useful and entertaining. That’s what I aim for. One thing I do these days is not use the word “Prologue” at the top of the page. I usually just put the date so those who are anti-prologue might be more inclined to actually read it what I’ve written. (They’d miss out on some important stuff if they didn’t.) Excellent idea for a series, and I’m looking forward to the rest! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m interested in where you’re going with this series, Harmony. I’ve never used a prologue in any of my writings. But I’ve read some that really enlightened me as a reader of a particular story. I think in certain instances a prologue might be necessary. I’ll be following along in your series.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I liked the intro to this subject, Harmony. I have always thought a prologue should represent something distant from the story. I liked your description of time, including a few hours distant.
    I’m looking forward to this series.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m looking forward to your series, Harmony. A good prologue can grab a reader’s attention and carry them through the book. With historical fiction, a prologue can be essential. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Oh, this is going to be a good series! I have read fiction stories where the prologue was absolutely an addition to the story and others where it wasn’t. So, I’m looking forward to learning what works and what doesn’t. Thank you, Harmony!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I know a lot of publishers discourage prologues because readers skip them. My question is: why? If the author included it as crucial information to the story, then I’m going to read it. To me, skipping it detracts from the reading experience. (And could cost me critical information.)

    Long story short, I’m pro prologues.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Looking forward to this, Harmony. I love Jaye and Anita’s comment about setting up questions, and agree with the others who say it’s a neat way of providing the back story so that you can go straight into the main story.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: How to Use Prologues, Part 1, Overview | Legends of Windemere

  17. I’m in the pro prologue camp as long as there is a valid reason for using one. I once knew an egotistical author and “self-proclaimed” editor who stated he never read them. People who don’t often miss important aspects of a book. If one is there, I can’t imagine not reading it. Looking forward to the series, Harmony.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. HYPE is the only story in which I’ve used a prologue.I thought it was important to show the character’s post-trauma voice. I’ve read some books with great prologues and others that make me want to speed read though it to start the story. Lol! I look forward to this series, Harmony! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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