Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ojduffelworth, Jan 16, 2010.
What is the difference between a prologue and an introduction?
I'd say that an introduction is a presentation of how things are at the time of the story's starts, while a prologue is a summary of events that lead up to it.
The prologue is meant to set up the story where as the intro is the beginning of the story.
try a dictionary! ;-)
Depends on how you look at them. In a way, prologues and introductions are the same thing. Prologues introduce settings. See what I did there?
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Search term: prologue vs introduction
Fiction generally doesn't use an introduction. Those are typically short essays useful for helping the reader of a nonfiction book get a sense of the content, direction, scope, tone, resources and overall usefullness of the material.
A prologue, on the other hand, is a device of fiction in which the author presents one or more scenes that take place prior to the start of the narrative and which are not (usually) directly connected. For example, the thriller author James Rollins front-loads his book with several short scenes set days, months, years or even centuries before the priamry narrative. The protagnonists are seldom in these scenes in Rollins' novels. Often they are set in historical events that will relate to plot backstory; and sometimes they involve characters whose actions need to be shown so that the novel itself can make sense from the beginning.
Sometimes the prlogue is used to establish something about the protagonist, but in a situation not otherwise directly tied to the main plot. If you remember the opening scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy is in South America looking for the golden statue. We learn a lot about the character in those action-packed minutes so that when the novel starts and we meet him as a bookish college teacher, we know that this isn't WHO he really is.
Take a tip, though. Except in historical novels, some horror and some thrillers, editors generally don't want to see a prologue. The editorial view these days is: give us the protagonist on the first page and get right into the story.
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