1. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    More than one prologue?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by BillyxRansom, Jun 26, 2008.

    The only book I've ever heard of doing this is War and Peace. Were there any other books that had two or even more prologues? I'm really feeling like the story I'm writing needs two prologues, because the first prologue involves the last decades of the world's existence (except not really -- but that's a big reversal that is key to the entire story).

    The second prologue is kind of like.... Hmm, stories similar to those from the Bible, but since the focus of the story is an entirely new Incarnation of the world, (i.e. the world "starting over") a whole new Bible would need to be written. Which would be a humongous project itself. I might want to make that the Second Prologue. Or an abridged version of that at least. Is this a bad idea? Or at least risky? I could probably write a more complete version of THAT in its own book. Like a fantasy, Ancient Greek tale inspired novel.

    Let me know what you think please. Thanks. :)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think I would use a prologue for either of those purposes. Start with one of your principal characters, or at least in one of your settings in current story time, and sprinkle the tidbits of what you were thinking of as prologue material in with the body of the novel.

    I believe you would quickly lose readers with those prologues before they ever see the story itself.
     
  3. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    This is another idea I was thinking about. Thanks, Cog.
     
  4. Samswriting
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    Samswriting Senior Member

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    As has been noted in other threads, prologues can be disastrous in there own right, where the information in it should have been put in the story itself. I believe one member actually stated it was just flat out wrong to put back story and the like in the prologue.

    I am not a fan of prologues as a whole, some do it well some dont, I think in most cases they are simply not needed. So I would find two hard to make sense of, I cant even fathom why you would have two. If there is just THAT much information to be put in, then there is either something wrong or the information needs to be in the story not the prologue.
     
  5. Becca D
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    Becca D Member

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    Is this going to be a novel? If so, you could always write a small "excerpt" of the 'Bible' that you're creating at the beginning of each chapter. People might skip reading them the first time around, but oftentimes when an author writes this way, when I read the book a second time I also read all the little blurbs at the beginning of the chapters.
    Just a thought. :)
     
  6. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    That is an interesting thought, too! I think I might write it in a way so that, you'll be confused if you don't read those little intros. Would that be mean of me? :p
     
  7. InkDancer
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    InkDancer Senior Member

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    You could also put the story in an appendix instead of a prologue. That way the dedicated reader can experience it, but the casual one can skip it. Either way, you should convey as much of the necessary detail as you can in the main part of the story. Imagine if Tolkien had included The Silmarillion as a prologue to Lord of the Rings!
     
  8. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Well could you define appendix? Because I thought the Silmarillion was just another book, related to Middle Earth?
     
  9. InkDancer
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    InkDancer Senior Member

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    Two different examples... I should have been more explicit. Imagine if the story about Aragorn and Arwen from the appendix, or the story of the House of Durin, or any of the other stuff there at the end of Return of the King had been used as a prologue. For that matter, look at how much the actual prologue, "Concerning Hobbits," slows down the start of the book!
     
  10. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Am I the only person who likes prologues? I think of them as nice little extras for a story. Kind of like going to a nice hotel and finding a chocolate on your pillow.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think they have a place. But if they don't pull the reader into the story right off, they do more harm than good, in my opinion.
     
  12. A-Frame
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    A-Frame New Member

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    Well I just finished reading a book called Hooked by Les Edgerton, which turned out to be one of the better books on writing that I've read in a while. It was all about beginnings, and how not to begin a story (if you wish your story to be published at least). The biggest kiss of death is lengthy backstory, and the author called this the biggest beginners mistake he frequently ran across. Trust your reader, start at the good part, and work backstory in creatively later once you've got the readers hooked.

    I'm not one for formulaic writing, but the book was pretty great and gave me a lot of good ideas and insight into what editors and readers alike look for. I rarely if ever read prologues. Why? Because if it was so important the author should have put it into the story. Also books that begin with an account of the last 100 years or whatever are generally boring. Start with some action/event/happening and then go back to backstory later.
     
  13. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    I've got whole blocks of potential back story. I think I'm going to separate them into smaller sections, with narrative blocks more "current" in the story's terms. Like keep the back story, but just write in between those sentences and paragraphs. That'll also lengthen the ms. a bit. :)

    Thanks guys. Feel free to keep 'em coming!
     
  14. Kirby Tails
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    Kirby Tails Member

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    I have one prologue, but my firast chapter is kind of an unofficial prologue...it involves kind of the "coming together" of these two families...bah, it's complicated.
     

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