After much deliberation and the help of my most recent conference – I am putting to rest my prologue. As a reader, I love prologues – if done well. They really can grab my attention and throw me into the story. The problem as a writer – it has to be perfect. Mine was far from perfect.
My real problem was that I have two stories wrapped around each other. I was trying to start my manuscript with my secondary story and my prologue introduce that second story. Therefore, the prologue didn’t have anything to do with the story itself. The prologue often give a back story that helps the story move. I’ve heard many editors say that if a prologue is done – they will skip it immediately – read the story and then read the prologue. If the prologue teaches them something that they had missed in the story – then they would consider keeping it.
My change wasn’t hard at all. If you can imagine – my manuscript has 51 chapters. 41 chapters are devoted to my main story and 10 chapters are devoted to the secondary story. Truth be told though – the secondary story is really just a single long chapter. My former prologue was the first chapter of 10 I just mentioned. My change consisted of taking the prologue and moving it to chapter 5 of my story. From there – every 5-7 chapters I would add another piece of the puzzle. It was a fun way of doing it. In the end, I kept the chapter – because it is helpful in the overall story.
What are your feelings, as a reader, about prologues. If you are a writer…does your idea of a prologue change?