?

Well? Characters introduced in intro

Poll closed Mar 31, 2013.
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  2. Bad Idea

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  3. Never seen it before

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  1. BlackBird
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    BlackBird Member

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    Introduction / Prologue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BlackBird, Dec 31, 2012.

    I am curious how do people feel about stories which have the characters introduced in the prologue area instead of at the back of the story.

    I have read a few such stories - usually really odd fantasy and/or off kilter space stories - and I found it easier than relate to the story to have the characters introduced at the beginning rather than at the end.

    By introduced I mean simply

    Jack - human, age 23 - born Earth for example.

    Nothing elaborate, just enough so that people can relate.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't make it a prologue. Infuse your introduction of the main character into an early chapter.

    Also, try to make an introductory scene for a character center around only that character, even if that is not the first time the character appears in the story. For example, a character may be a passive listener in an early conversation intended to introduce another character, but give the passive listener a scene of his or her own soon after to show that character. This is how you let the reader bond to the character, and give the character a distinct identity for the reader.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know what you mean by introducing characters "in the prologue area instead of at the back of the story". The main purpose of prologues is not to introduce characters. This should happen at the point where they actually come in to the story, and then the reader gets to know them over the course of the writing.
     
  4. blenderpie
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    blenderpie Member

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    You mean like a listing of the characters before the story starts? Like when you read a play?

    It depends on the story. Are you going to be naming and referring to enough secondary or background characters that the reader will get easily confused? Most stories that do that have an appendix where people can look if they are so inclined. I don't think a novel that I've ever read has had it before the start of the book because there are too many readers like me who will just skip it. I like an appendix because I can refer to it if I want for additional information, but if I need to look there to understand the story in any way, the author is not doing a proper job.
     
  5. BlackBird
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    BlackBird Member

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    I understand that but if one is writing an alien based fantasy story with different creatures, and different worlds and different technologies would that not be confusing.

    For example in the first chapter I am focusing on two main characters - one human, one alien - and am mentioning alien-named technology. Would that be too confusing?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No. Let the reader discover the way the alien thinks as the human character's understanding grows. Let the reader participate in the process of exploration.

    Trust that your reader is intelligent, and curious. Don't lead the reader by the nose.
     
  7. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Well a prologue isn't a very long thing, so if you have to introduce a character, you need to do it in a very summarized way, and it has to be someone who played a very important role in the story so far. Usually villains are introduced in the prologue, like LotR. The classic prologue is the lettering before each Star Wars movie.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you seem to be asking about including a 'dramatis personae' page before the story begins... this has been done, but only rarely and not much seen in modern fiction...

    if you feel it's necessary, there's no problem with adding a separate page for it, but it wouldn't be done in an 'introduction' which is something else altogether... if your agent/publisher doesn't like it, you can hash it out with them... where it will be placed, if found acceptable, will usually be up to the publisher...
     

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