How to Write a Prologue

hello everybody today we're talking

about prologues those cute little intros

at the start of a novel that you may or

may not skip over from what I've noticed

there tends to be two schools of thought

on prologues on the one hand there are

writers who swear by prologues they

think they're absolutely pivotal to

stories and they won't even read a book

without one and then there are those who

see a prologue and just immediately skip

over it I don't condone this behavior

it's not what you're supposed to do but

there's a reason that so many readers

skip prologues it's because a lot of

writers don't really understand the

point of them a lot of prologues are

really unnecessary and really boring so

I'm here to tell you how to make your

prologue necessary and not boring first

and foremost what is a prologue a

prologue is a mini story that takes

place before the start of your book but

still has a direct effect on the plot

basically some went down maybe a

year or a decade or a century before

your story even begins but it's really

important for whatever reason your

entire plot hinges on it now this is

what a prologue is supposed to be this

is its definition but there are a few

cases where you can bend the rules a bit

and create a prologue that doesn't

necessarily fit this description some of

the exceptions include number one if you

start the story with some kind of

document and email a contract say your

story begins with the will of a dead

grandpa or the letter of a long-lost

lover these are legitimate reasons to

include a prologue that doesn't

necessarily fit the rule just be careful

that whatever document you're including

isn't painfully dull number two it's

written from a point of view that you'll

never use again this is usually the case

if you're writing an event that occurs

years before the story even begins

but sometimes writers feel the need to

include a prologue that maybe doesn't

take place years in advance but is

written from the protagonists mom's

perspective or the best friends

perspective and number three the

prologue is actually the end of your

book it's a glimpse into the future and

the rest of your book is essentially a

flashback anyhow those are the most

obvious exceptions to the rule now you

should never assume that your book is

the exception but it's good to know your

options just in case so now you might be

thinking okay I know what a prologue is

I know the exceptions to the rule

I think I'm ready to get at it right

wrong a lot of writers are prologue

happy they desperately want to write one

even if it serves absolutely no purpose

to the story and they need to calm the


before you write that ever enticing

prologue you need to stop and ask

yourself three questions these questions

will help you determine whether or not

you should write the hell out of that

prologue or toss it to the curb number

one is it necessary people often ask me

am i required to write a prologue no

should I look for a reason to include a

prologue no will my story seem better or

more professional if I just find a way

to throw in a prologue no no no stop it

you should never include anything into a

story unless it's necessary especially a

prologue your prologue should be vital

to the story if the story can be told

without it then tell the story without

it in my current manuscript a powerful

Queen is assassinated

eighteen years before the story even

begins this assassination is pivotal to

my story so I absolutely needed a

prologue without it there is no book if

you can't look at your prologue and say

but I need it then delete it number two

is it interesting

your prologue should be an event not an

info dump 1000 years ago a tribe of

people ventured across the land to do

things that made stuff happen

if your prologue sounds like that people

aren't gonna read it no one wants to be

bored to tears at the start of your book

it's not a very good first impression

instead of telling the reader some long

wordy history why don't you show the

history unfold make the events happen

I've seen prologues that were just

lengthy descriptions of laws and

locations and the rules of the land on

the flip side I've seen prologues that

were intense fights and negotiations and

through these events the author was able

to illustrate the rules and the laws

without it reading like a textbook

there's usually a way to provide

need-to-know information without going

into a laundry list of suckage

number three is it short back when I did

manuscript critiques I received a

prologue from an aspiring writer that

was five chapters long that's not a

prologue that's a prequel a prologue is

there to give vital neat

no information not the entire history of

whatever civilization you've created let

me put it this way if you're feeling the

need to fully develop characters that

only show up at the prologue you're

writing too much a prologue is typically

one to two events that somehow trigger

the plot of your novel and one to two

events shouldn't require a significant

character development or exposition or

chapters and chapters of information so

how long should you prologue these in my

opinion whatever the length of your

average chapter is your prologue needs

to be shorter than that

don't waste your readers time get to the

point and make it juicy so that's all I

got for you today prologue can't live

with them can't live without him oh wait

you can live without them

so if you don't need one don't write one

and if you do need one make sure that

its brief engaging and necessary to the

story on that note I just wanted to say

a quick thank you to everyone for the

birthday wishes I had a fantastic

birthday and that was largely because

you all were so sweet thank you so much

I wanted to give a quick shout out to my

friends Kim chance Kris Carlisle and Amy

Barrett for making my birthday super

special thank you so much and I also

wanted to give a shout out to desiree a

melody from coffee reading writing for

the surprise birthday mug hold on let's

see yes writer a person capable of

transforming caffeine into books

introvert masochist wizard that's me I

love the lastly thank you to

everyone who participated in the eve the

awakening photo challenge there were so

many of you and it was so awesome to see

all of your submissions I've already

notified the winners and they will each

be receiving a signed copy of EB

awakening anywho don't forget to

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