Well, I thought I could discuss it in this week’s post (I know I missed a post last week, I’ll make it up to you I’m sorry) so here goes.
Do I need a prologue?
The short answer is: yes and no. Basically, prologues have developed this sort of reputation that they are used by authors simply to ‘info dump’ the reader and get them familiarized with the world they’re creating, and this couldn’t be further from the truth.
First, you have to consider if your story even needs a prologue (I hear you… ‘but Mo, how on dear planet Earth am I going to explain my world then?’ I’ll get to that in a second). Most books can do without it, and a good question to ask yourself is “if I take the prologue away completely, does it change or alter anything important?” if the answer is no or even a maybe, then yours is not that important.
Second, don’t get me wrong, it could be used to drop the reader in the world and have them hooked straight away from that, or completely turn them off by it. The prologue has to add something to the equation, whether it happens way in the past, or way in the future.
When do I need one then?
One of the techniques I’ve seen writers often pull is that they’ll have the prologue take the reader through a very important event lore-wise and that without reading it, the true ending would not be unlocked. How? Let me explain with an example:
Let’s say, your story revolves around Simon, a good old fashioned hero, he goes on an adventure to save a princess from the evil dinosaur Bibo (just go with me, right). The ending would be Simon butchering Bibo and saving the princess, but at the end, the princess notices a scar shaped like an ‘S‘ around his neck and asks him about it, to which he replies “It’s an old wound that you don’t need to worry about.”
Perfect right? Yep, except for the part, that in the prologue, the princess’s grandfather summons a witch to predict the future, and the witch says “Your granddaughter will perish at the hands of S”.
Now, who was the bad guy? And just who exactly was this… Simon fellow? It offers a lot of perspective to the story, and trust me, while some may not make the connection, others will. Readers are exceptionally smart and will pick up on every little clue you leave them.
So, that’s it for this week. If you enjoyed going through this, I’d appreciate it if you could share and spread the word, it really helps.
Until next time,