Im just trying to understand the purpose and if its a must have? Or can you just start at chapter one?

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Post by Guest »

This is probably a silly question, apologies I am still learning the rules. I'm almost half way through writing a first draft, baring in mind Ive started over and over again over the last 10 years and developed it into whatever it is today....certainly something unrecognisable from when I started out.

Anyway I think I'm over the hump and will actually finish this one, what I haven't done is written a prologue, so I was wondering does a story HAVE to have one? Or is it only important to certain genres? Mines mafia and gang related, so just wondered what peoples thoughts are?

I'm just trying to understand the purpose and if its a must have? Or can you just start at chapter one?

Post by Jacopo »

I don't think so. Not every book out there has a prologue. Throwing the reader right into the action could be a deliberate choice that could also work well with the genre of your book. I personally find prologues outdated and delaying the interesting part. I receive no pleasure when a book or a movie even, explain everything for me instead of challenging me.

Post by Anja »

I used to skip prologues. I like them now but I don’t miss them when the book doesn’t have them.

Post by William »

Not only does it not have to have a prologue – if you were hoping to get an agent or traditionally published you probably should not have a prologue.

Post by Steve »

Most prologs are an info dump of backstory, containing only bits that should be bleed into a story at relevant moments, and bits that should stay in the author's head as they are only character relevant (not the same as story relevant). At least 10% of readers recognize a prologue as sign of weak authorship and will not buy a book that has one. The time when a prologue is needed is as a scene-set in serialized works (not the first though obviously) There are a few exceptions other than that, for instance if you're writing a story that is fully contain in the battle of Gettysburg, it might be useful to have a prologue to tell how the war started.

Post by Sean »

You should only use a prologue if it serves a purpose. Maybe a past incident that they need info on because it’s relevant to the story but there’s no place for it other than a lengthy aside during the story, something like that.

But please don’t feel like you need to crowbar one in. If your story starts at chapter one then that’s absolutely fine.

Post by Tyn »

You absolutely do not need a prologue. I'd say most stories are better off without one. If you can't say it in the story, is it actually important for the story? Prologues are a personal bugbear because lots of new writers seem to use them as a crutch when they're not confident in their world building. Just get on with the story.
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