The 5 Best Ways To Include Prologues

The 5 Best Ways To Include Prologues

Writers Write creates writing resources and shares writing tips. This post is about the five best ways to include prologues in your books.

What is a prologue?

According to Literary Devices: “The prologue, Greek prologos (meaning: before word), is an opening of a story that establishes the setting and gives background details. Generally speaking, the main function of a prologue tells some earlier story and connects it to the main story…  In its modern sense, a prologue acts as a separate entity and is not considered part of the current story that a writer ventures to tell.”

Should you use one?

Writers love writing prologues, epilogues, and flashbacks. Readers hate reading them.

Readers want to get into the story immediately. You should only introduce backstory when your readers have established a bond with your characters.

If you insist on writing them, make sure you know how, and when, to use them.

The 5 Best Ways To Include Prologues

Prologues can be used when the opening scene of your novel:

  1. Occurs long before the main story.
  2. Is the ending to your story – making the entire novel a flashback.
  3. Is written from a viewpoint that is never used again.
  4. Is presented as a ‘real’ document, such as an auction notice, diary entry, or letter.
  5. Is integral to the whole of the story, but is not immediately obvious.

Prologues must be powerful. The opening scene and the prologue must be able to stand alone. If your prologue takes anything away from your opening scene leave it out.

Suggested reading: 13 Ways To Start A Story

by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. 6 Sub-Plots That Add Style To Your Story
  2. The Top 10 Tips for Plotting and Finishing a Book
  3. 5 Really Good Reasons To Outline Your Novel – before you write a word
  4. The Author’s Promise – 2 Things Writers Should Do
  5. 7 Extremely Good Reasons To Write The Ending First

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Posted on: 18th July 2011