Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I'm rather at a loss what to write, as I've already said in my comments to Ana's and Toni's blogs that I don't really know what is acceptable as a prologue and what isn't.
However, I did 'google' the subject, and came up with this article which I thought was quite interesting, even if it didn't completely clarify my confusion about prologues:
A couple of sentences in this caught my eye: "Perhaps they [key facts or other information] occur in another time or place, and have too much weight to mention by-the-by. Or they might choke the narrative to death with background details."
I have this problem in my first novel (yes, you know the one, M & B have had it for 10 months!). At it stands at the moment, I've included 'chunks' of backstory because it's necessaary for the reader to understand what happened 5 years earlier. But I've always had the feeling that it 'chokes the narrative' - so now I'm wondering if I should put the backstory as a prologue, or simply call it Chapter One.


  1. Try writing the prologue and cut the backstory to see how it feels/sounds.

    Remember, always keep the original just in case you don't like the revisions.

  2. Toni's right. Try it both ways. Then ask your faithful, friendly blog partners which way works better--if you can't decide.
    I'll flip a coin for you!

  3. Good advice, ladies.

    And we'll definitely be glad to offer our humble opinions if you're willing to share!

  4. Hi,

    The latest trend in avoiding use of a "prologue" header (which apparently puts some people off buying or reading further) is to insert sub headers:

    London 2005 (= prologue)

    New York 2010 (Main story begins)

    Worse than a prologue is when some authors' throw a reader into the present with chap1, then chap2 throws the feader wayback in time, by chap 3 it's back to the present and by chap4 back in time again. I really hate this style of putting a book together = blocks of time!

    Another debatable point: if prologues are considered a form of lazy writing! Does that not apply also to Epilogues? After all, is such not implying the author was too lazy in honing the ms sufficient to incorporate and tie up any loose ends within the story. What is the point of an Epiloge? ;)


  5. This is a smashing idea, Francine! I love to learn ways around the stumbling blocks.

    One site I read recently opined that epilogues are useful as feel-good hooks for future books.

  6. An epilogue is different. In romance, we need to let the reader know that the h/h did get together, end of story.

    The epilogue is a bonus to the reader. Letting them know...awww.. she finally had the baby she wanted. Feel good moment.

  7. Hi Toni,

    Can see your point on epilogue, but a tail-end-charlie sentence would suffice on baby announcement. Chances are, if a condom wasn't used then the end result would speak for itself!

    And, as expected, after nine months two days Christina was born.

    Or: One night of passion and her dream came to fruition Nine months, four days and on Christmas morning 01.30 precisely: James was delivered at 8Ibs 2oz.

    Just teasing! Honestly, "Epilogues" have their uses!!


  8. Thanks to my blog partners for their offers of help - you're all great guys!

    Francine, that is a seriously good idea! That really would work with my story and I like the place and date idea much more than 'Prologue'.

    Originally I had a brief epilogue in 'His Leading Lady' - but at the last minute, dropped it and included the necessary 'awww, happy ending' at the end of the last chapter.