Sunday 28 April 2019

To Prologue or Not...

After taking a break over Easter to start sowing vegetable and herb seeds in pots and tubs, I'm getting back to the novel.

Moving to Scrivener was definitely a good move, I can concentrate much better using it.

I'm working my way through writing the new scenes (missing from draft one) and am now finding a few of those original scenes in draft one have changed, moved or are no longer needed.

I even have a scene that I thought I'd put in the first draft but hadn't!

On Friday I got together with a couple of fellow romance writers and shared my concerns over how I deal with a particular piece of important information, currently in the second chapter, that still comes over as an info-dump.

Working it out...
While a small part can be slipped in naturally in conversation (where it is now) I need to remove the rest but find some way to show the really important part. As the rewriting has progressed it still can't be worked in elsewhere.

(It has to be dealt with in the third draft...)

So I decided the only way to overcome the problem was to create a short prologue.

Prologues are like Marmite, love them or hate them.

I don't mind them if they are used for a valid reason, but did wonder if my decision for it was reason enough.

So I did some Googling and came across two articles that discuss the do's and don'ts of prologues. First there's a post from the Writers Digest and the Writers & Artists website...

Having had a couple more days to consider the possibilities, I'm sure it's right for the story, as the consequences of that moment will lead to incidents that bring my hero and heroine into contact and eventually together...

By the time I'm ready to go back and finalise the first couple of chapters (I'm not totally happy with them yet) I'll be ready to write that prologue.

Now over to you; what's your view on prologues?

Image by Geralt from


Susan A Eames said...

I've never understood why prologues are controversial. If a story benefits from a prologue, then it should be included. I'm currently writing a travel memoir with a prologue because it seems like the best way to give the reader information I want them to have before they start reading the actual story.

Susan A Eames at
Travel, Fiction and Photos

Elizabeth McGinty said...

Hi Carol,
I believe they can work very well provided they are not too long, just enough to give the vital info without holding the reader back from getting their teeth into the story :)

Carolb said...

Susan- Like you I've never understood why prologues are disliked so much. As long as they are needed and as I've found can't be sorted out elsewhere, then use it.

Knowing about your travels I can see a prologue would help the reader.

Elizabeth- yes, that's what I'm aiming for.

Bea Charles said...

As you say, it is a marmite issue. Generally I dislike prologues and find them used nowadays more frequently than is necessary. Used well they are a good hook. Used badly they can be a poorly inserted info dump (although I’m sure yours won’t be, Carol!), or a misdirection of tone and style, or strangely enough often irrelevant once the story is properly underway.

Carolb said...

Bea- you've made some good points on why prologues don't work. I have to admit to going through all those elements when I was thinking about using a prologue.

Julia Thorley said...

If you want a proglogue. have a prologue! I wouldn't necessarily label it as such (remember 'Up Pompeii'?), but maybe a different typeface before the story proper?

Ann Williams said...

Carol, I have read several books recently with prologues, some of which worked - were brief and to the point but contained a vital element outside the timescale of the story that affected the outcome - and others felt like the author was unburdening themselves of all the extra material they had gathered but not used elsewhere.

Maybe actually writing the prologue will help you decide if it works for your story.

Carolb said...

Julia- that's actually a useful thing to try, thanks.

Ann- thank you for popping in to the blog. :-) I hope my prologue will fit the former type, but I will write it and see if it works. Thanks again.x

Ken said...

If a prologue makes the story better, go for it. The story is all.

Carolb said...

Ken- thanks for visiting and commenting. :-)

That's a good reminder, it is about making the story the best it can be.