About prologues

  1. How should I start writing a prologue? I mean how should be the starting ?
  2. What should I do about what should I don’t do in the prologue?

Please give me some suggestions about prologues and how to write it?

Some things you should probably keep in mind while writing a prologue:

  1. Don’t make it too long. Prologues technically don’t form a part of the main story, so they shouldn’t go on for several pages.

  2. Only write a prologue if you feel that the information give in the prologue is necessary for readers to know, but can’t be given at the start of the first chapter. Prologues that occur immediately before the events of the first chapter are not prologues, unless perhaps if the events in it are told from a different perspective than the main story.

  3. Prologues mostly contain past events that are relevant to the main story or the back ground of (one of) the main character(s). In that case, I would start in res media, so in the middle of the action. Don’t use a prologue to explain every detail about the world you created (if you’re writing Fantasy).

  4. You can be really creative with prologues if you want. Your prologue can have the design of a letter written to one of the main characters, for instance, or a fragment in an important book. It’s just an idea. :blush:

I hope this was enough to get you started and give you an idea of what should or shouldn’t be included in a prologue. Good luck with your writing!

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A prologue is a single chapter in the story that takes place before the story actually begins. It advances the plot and it’s a single event that helps the reader get excited for what is to come and how it connects with the main story.

So the first thing you need to do is figure out if you actually need a prologue. About 90% of the time, most books don’t need it.

If you still think your book needs a prologue, then make sure it’s rather short. Prologues aren’t chapter length; they’re usually shorter.

From there, consider where chapter one would start. Your story should always start closer to when the plot takes place (the inciting incident) and when you figure that out, think of ideas for your prologue. Where and when is it supposed to start? Keep in mind, your prologue isn’t supposed to be a place for a massive info-dump.

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A prologue is an event that takes place out of the normal timeline of the book (either in the past or future) that has importance to the current timeline and can’t really just be explained within the story.

If you don’t need one, don’t use one.

If there’s an event from your character’s past that the audience needs to see, show them.

As far as what to do, make sure the scene has significance. Keep it shorter. Pull readers in.

What not to do… Don’t use it just because you feel a book should have a prologue, because there aren’t many times where one is needed. Don’t use it as an info dump.

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I personally hate prologues and if I start reading a story and see one, I’ll automatically close it. Prologues are unnecessary most of the time. If there’s something you need to let the reader know, do it throughout your story, don’t throw information at their faces before they even care about the characters and their stories.

But this is just my very personal opinion, in the end, it’s your story and you know it better than anyone, so if you still want a prologue, go for it. Best of luck to you~

Because prologues have a bit of a PR problem, I might suggest just making your prologue “Chapter One” (like in the first Harry Potter book, for example). This is an option to consider only after you’ve made sure your prologue is truly necessary, as previous posters have said.

Most authors think they need prologues because there’s a large time jump between some important event in the past and the actual story. But almost all stories deal with events that happen before the “main show” begins, and it’s the author’s job to share this information with the reader in a way that feels natural. A prologue is really only justified if it contains information that somehow cannot be shared in the main body of the story due to a perspective shift (knowledge gap between POV characters) or a formatting difference (prologue is a letter, poem, etc.), for example.

In my opinion, “action” prologues are more legitimate than “exposition” prologues. If some instigating event happens in your prologue—a kidnapping, a theft, a coup, a duel, a murder, etc.—then it’s more likely to feel relevant. Prologues that explain the setting in a detached manner often feel boring—“Six hundred years ago, the Goddesses of Night and Day had a terrible feud, and the Kingdom of Nordania was plunged into eternal twilight,” for example, or “The Roberts family’s wealth dated as far back as its curse, when Hiram Roberts built his first hotel on an ancient Cherokee burial ground.” It’s more appropriate to weave this sort of background info into the story itself.

Sometimes the subject matter of the prologue is not too objectionable, but the handling is. An account of the Great Chicago Fire from the perspective of a specific character who was there—“Henrietta lost her footing on the cobbles as the crowds buffeted her in blind panic; flames licked the hem of her skirt, but her throat was too dry to scream”—is more compelling than an omniscient, textbook-y point of view—“Chicago was an up-and-coming hub of industrialization, but in 1871, a terrible fire brought the city to its knees, killing hundreds and altering the landscape forever.” The first example establishes a plot-relevant character, while the second is just a history lesson.

Lol sorry this reply got so long :sweat_smile:. Hope some of my opinions are helpful to you!

So, after all these wise women writers of Wattpad advised you not to start with a prologue (and I agree with them), back to the basic question: how do I start chapter one?

Make it interesting. You either start with “the inciting incident” (the thing that happens to get the MC out of her comfort zone and pushes her into an adventure) or you start with a scene that shows the comfort zone before the inciting incident happens.

Harry Potter starts when Harry lives with his uncle and aunt, like The Hunger Games starts with Katniss during a normal day in her world: we want to feel sympathy for the MC and agree when he or she wants to change things. This is usually a good idea for fantasy, sci fi and adventure stories.

James Bond starts with a scene of action, followed by a scene in which “the problem becomes clear”.

Most mystery stories start with a corpse, or with the final moments of the soon-to-be-murdered victim so the reader can start figuring out who done it.

Romance starts with “him meets her”, in a situation that sets the tone of the story, making it special and interesting.

In general: the main character(s) should so something that’s important for the rest of the story (most of the time, the MC does the opposite thing in the final scene: coward becomes brave, boring becomes funny, loser becomes winner).

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