Prologue–Yes or No?

I’ve begun to tweak and polish the next book of my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series and have come up with a bit of a stumbling block. ICE ON FIRE begins with a Prologue, followed by Chapter 1 which takes place 15 years later.

Many say not to begin with a Prologue—readers skim them, but I’ve never had an objection and do not skip a single word of how a book starts out (as long as the read is compelling, of course).

It is somewhat essential to preface the opening pages of ICE ON FIRE as a Prologue due to the passage of time . . . however maybe I’m wrong. What do you think? Do you have an objection to a novel starting out as a Prologue? 

I’m sure many writers and readers would be interested in whatever advice you care to offer.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel Staccato, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle, and independent book stores.

7 Comments

Filed under fiction, writing

7 responses to “Prologue–Yes or No?

  1. I find prologues are usually a hook with something exciting to get me interested, and then I have to go through acres and acres of setup in ch 1-7 or so before something good happens again.

  2. jcguest

    Critics of prologues claim they are largely composed of backstory and should be worked into the text at appropriate points in the story.

    Personally, I love prologues and have used them in all my novels. If done right, they can grab a reader and really launch them into chapter 1.

    Bottom line: there is no real right or wrong. The writer has the last say; just go with how you feel, Deborah.

  3. The prologues I hate are the ones where the author pulls an exciting scene from later in the book and puts it at the beginning because the beginning isn’t strong enough.

    Outside of that, I see nothing wrong with prologues, especially if the story it tells is compelling. For me, it’s more disconcerting to have Chapter Two start many years after Chapter One. In that case, you have a prologue in all but name.

  4. Thanks so much for your opinions. We all seem to be in consensus.

  5. I don’t like prologues that just give away the middle, or just feed the backstory. But I always read them, and sometimes they add a lot – a picture that contrasts with the novel’s beginning, promising complexity; a shadow; a light; an arrow that points the reader in the right direction…

  6. christinehusom

    I started both my published books with a brief prologue because they seemed like natural launches into the story. My current work does not have a prologue, but I may add one, depending. I agree with the rest of you.

  7. My prologues (both books) provide brief snapshots of historic events that impact the story. (In my case describing events that took place 200 & 300 years previously.)

    They’re not effective as (boring) info dumps (short cuts) nor should they be used as a ‘down payment’ to the reader (“this is the lame hook, but wait, really, it’ll get better…. in 8 or…. maybe 20 chapters”). They should be short, crisply worded & encapsulate action, emotion & identifiable characters. Create a mood & a desire to read more. Later, don’t be redundant by rehashing it in splendid detail. Give the reader credit for having enough brains to ‘get it’ – just my opinion folks. DE

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