Hi SErs! It’s a day of Harmony here at Story Empire 🙂 Today, I’d like to talk about what a prologue is and is not. Here’s a link to the previous post on Prologues Overview. Below is a screenshot of the dictionary definition of the word …
As you can see, a prologue introduces your world and/or sets the stage for the story to follow. A prologue comes from the root “logos”, which means speech, along with the prefix “pro”, which means before. So, together, we have Before Speech. Traditionally, such “before speeches” were given before the start of a theatrical play. These days, they are also used in both the film and fiction industries.
What a Prologue Is:
- A prologue gives extra information which enhances the plot
- A prologue can be used as a teaser, bringing events forward from later in the book
- A prologue can introduce significant past events
- A prologue can give information from an alternative point of view
- A prologue can be used to begin the narrative at a time point removed from where the main story begins
- A prologue will give context to your story world
- A prologue will unify story elements
- A prologue is part of the main narrative and will provide vital information
What a Prologue Isn’t:
- A prologue isn’t an information dump
- A prologue isn’t a dump of back story
- A prologue isn’t a Preface, an Introduction, an Author’s Note, or a Foreword
- A prologue isn’t a crutch to prop up a weak first chapter … both the prologue and first chapter need to be strong and compelling
- A prologue isn’t a short story that has no relation to your main story
- A prologue isn’t a lengthy exposition
TOP TIP: When you write a good prologue, and have a valid reason for using one, it will enhance your story rather than detract from it.
Remember: There are NO hard-and-fast rules. You can do anything you want, as long as you do it well and with good reason.
That’s it from me today. I hope you’ll find this series of posts useful. I’ll see you again on Wednesday 1st June, when we’ll take a look at Prologue Dos and Don’ts 🙂
The prologue series so far:
©2022 Harmony Kent