Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I have to say, if I pick up a book and open to a prologue it is an immediate turn off for me.

I did write one, a short one. It showed my pregnant heroine at 16 in her father's office. He gave her an ultimatum once the baby was born. She decided then to give the child up for adoption.

Then chapter one starts with her moving to a different state, away from her father and forgetting about the child she gave up and the man she loved whom her father kept her from.

But after writing the entire story, I decided to cut the prologue and filter the information in through dialogue with the hero. He learns, as well as the reader, that her choice was to give the child up for adoption, or have the hero go to jail for raping her because she was 16. Hmmm... what's a girl to do. She was in love with this guy. So she gave her father what he wanted.

It reads so much better and I'm glad I made the change.

Do you write prologues? Tell us about it.


  1. Hi,

    Yep, wrote a prologue for a romantic thriller.

    It was a fairly short prologue: a happy family weekend then unexpected phone call and the husband (UK Secret Intelligence Service) leaves the house in a hurry using borrowed wife's car becase his is out of action.

    He's blown up outside the house (car bomb). The consequences of his death kick in nine months later with (chap 1) a man believed to be CIA agent standing on her doorstep.

    I quite like prologues in books providing there's need for prior action that affect the lives of the characters but is not a major part of the ongoing plot.


  2. I confess I'm not a fan of prologues either, Toni. Mainly (I have to admit) because I don't really understand what is, and what is not, acceptable!

  3. I think it all depends on how a prologue is used. I've never written one myself...I agree that a lot of what falls into a prologue can often be told as backstory throughout the novel, and in this way doesn't give too much away too soon.

    I've also read books where prologues work well.

  4. So is the advice to not use a prologue unless the reader is better served with that information in advance?

  5. "Everyone" seems to eschew the use of a prologue. I wonder if they will cycle back into vogue?

  6. As a reader, I don't like prologues, though I won't stop reading because of one. (I won't buy a book with a prologue unless it's a favorite author, which may be why big names are allowed to get away with them.) In essence, I feel you have to start the story twice and I want to be submerged in the lives of the characters immediately. I don't write them, but despite what I've said, I think there are circumstances where a prologue works (oftentimes in suspense novels). But be sure you've ruled out any other way of doing it. Don't do it because it's "easier".

  7. Good point, Carly. Lazy writing!! LOL