Looking for advice on determining what’s a prologue vs a first chapter when writing a novel?

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Post by Guest »

I need your help..

Post by Alene »

I use it to set up the story. Google the definition. And keep it down to one page.

Post by Rebekah »

A lot of the time a prologue has a time skip from the first chapter. Another common thing is it's from a different pov from the MC.

Post by Daniel »

First chapter is where you introduce your main character as they are at the start of your story as close to the inciting incident as possible that sets off your main story.

A prologue is a special chapter preceding chapter 1 that contains information vital to understanding the world, theme, character etc of your story and contains events from BEFORE the status quo of the protagonist at the start of your story.

It's the opposite of an epilogue which is an extra chapter at the end of a story after the ending which contains vital info about a character after the story concludes that informs you about their future. Likewise a prologue informs you of the past and how the status quo of chapter 1 was reached.

Examples of chapter 1: frodo is waiting for bilbos birthday and his life is changed when Gandalf returns to tell him that the magic ring he has belonged to Sauron and he must destroy it.

The prologue would be like in the films where galadriel recites the making of the rings and the war of the last alliance before the film truly begins.

Example 2: stormlight archive has a pov from a villain in a prologue showing him assassinate a king which begins the events/war that results in the status quo 10 years later of the constant war on the shattered plains where the main story takes place. Chapter 1 has a status quo where kaladin is a slave who is drafted into that war.

Example 3: song of ice and fire contains prologues which foreshadow events and themes for the book in which they appear and always feature a non pov character as the lead (who usually dies). These prologues exist to foreshadow the theme or events and also to act as a microcosm of the overall books plot theme. They also offer insight into locations and events where there are no POVs in the actual book. Chapter 1 then begins with a main character in a different location. Game of thrones (book 1) featured Royce fighting the white walkers then cut to Bran climbing on his castle.

Post by Charley »

The opening text crawl at the beginning of "Star Wars" is a prologue.

Post by Ruriks »

Basic rule of thumb: if the MC is in the scene, it’s a chapter 1. If not, it’s a prologue.

Post by Shayne »

A prologue is a scene that happens before the main story gets started. It will often feature different characters, or be set at a different time, but the scene will set up or have an impact on what happens in the main story.
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