Monday, April 4, 2011

To Prologue or Not To Prologue?

Hello again, everyone! I'd imagine, while reading this, some of you are curious where I've been the past weeks. In earnest, it's quite a long story, but things just seemed to pile all up and crash together, making for a very hectic few weeks and basically zero time to blog. But hey, that's life. :) I hopped around every so often, reading other bloggers' blogs and simply checking up on mine. And now, finally, I'm jumping back in, ready to put this blog of mine into drive and slam on the pedal. =) Hopefully, you guys are all willing to jump back on, rev your engines, and get ready to ride too! (Not sure why I'm using the car metaphor so much...?)

So, moving right along...

There are a lot of things I've been wanting to gush about on here--I've probably started to forget some, but they'll return--so I suppose I'll just have to take things one at a time. With that, I wanted to discuss prologues...

Frankly, I don't know whether or not to write one, and if I it really necessary? I understand prologues serve the purpose of explaining something indelibly important to the novel, hence the fact they're at the very beginning, but still... I often find myself reading some that I feel are entirely unnecessary, ones which, after I finish the book, I flip back to and ask "Why the heck are you here???"


So, any opinions on the matter? Like 'em? Hate 'em? Can't even write 'em? (I try...but then I realize there really is no point, no matter what I'm writing.) I've seen quite a few posts about it from agents and industry peeps in my days of perusing blogs, blogs, and more blogs, and more often than not, they say you really, truly, totally need to look at your prologue/preface (is there a difference?...because I truly don't know) and ask yourself if it's critical to the opening and the novel as a whole. For if it's not, it better pack up and head out before it lands in front of an agent who probably won't be too happy about it, since odds are they have hundreds of other queries to read.

Now, let's take a big breath. :) Gosh, publishing is tough.

Random fact: I started a new novel! And this one's a first for me. For one, it's literary, not commercial. Two, it's first person (99.9% of the time I do third). And three--the weirdest one of all--it's romance. Something I've never written, and something I most certainly never intended to write. Yet there's something about it... I keep writing and writing. I continue to dive back into it and think of more and more things. I hope it goes somewhere. :)

So, that's it. I better be back here in the next week or so (I really need to make myself a schedule, like so many diligent bloggers do), typing up another post. I apologize for leaving so abruptly, as if I'd fallen off the face of the planet. I'm here! I promise.

Now let's dance!

Write on!


  1. In all honesty, I normally just flip through the preface. I think I might have read one once. Only once. So I don’t really like them, especially when they’re twenty pages long (it’s annoying to flip all those pages).

    With a quick google search I think I found the answer to the preface/prologue question. Preface is where the author writes about the book, usually pertaining to its purpose. It is not part of the story. Prologue on the other hand is an introductory part of the story.

  2. Thanks for your input, M.C.! And thanks for answering my question; Google is so darn handy! :)

    I still find myself a little on the fence about whether or not to read prefaces/prologues... I probably only would if it was some hyped about book or I've heard good things about said book. Then I'd most certainly read and (hopefully savor) every page. I always find it interesting to see what everyone else thinks.

    Thanks again for commenting!

  3. I think it depends on the story. Some prologues just seem like the author didn't know how to insert background info anywhere else so they just chucked it in. Others make it feel more like the first part of the first chapter.

    I recently started writing a new novel, and I have a Chapeter .5. It's 500 words just giving the characters view on life, speaking directly to the reader, while leading them into the first scene, and I'm still not sure if I'll end up keeping it.

    One of the BEST prologues I've EVER read is James Patterson's "Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment" prologue. You can read it on if you go to the preview viewer. Read that and then ask yourself "If that's the effect I want, will my prologue do that?"

    <3 Gina Blechman

  4. Hello, Gina!

    The Maximum Ride series is on my to-read list, so I'll definitely be checking out the prologue and hopefully being as equally astounded by it as you were! :) And yes, I agree, it all really boils down to the story, and whether or not a prologue is utterly necessary. It's a shame some are just thrown in, or so convoluted and unrelated to everything that we as readers can't discern its reason for being there.

    Thanks for the comment!