1. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Prologue

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Reggie, Nov 21, 2010.

    Does anyone here have any suggestions on how to start the prologue of a novel? I have a finished novel (though I need to proofread it and eliminate the grammar mistakes I may have on it), but it seems that I jumped right into the plot. Is that a bad idea for readers to go right onto the first plot of the chapter? My plot started off when the main character graduated from high school and moved to Kentucky to stay with his mother, where his friends, Becky and Christina, and is godfather, Tom moved with him. The reason behind them moving was because the main character lived a miserable life in California. I don’t know if I really needed to add a chapter that tells the readers how the main character met Christina and Becky, and how miserable his life was. Instead, I started off where he moved to Kentucky after he felt overwhelmed about his life.

    Again, I was wondering if it’s necessary that I should have a chapter about how he was living in California before starting off on him moving to Kentucky. I have all ears open for anyone who is willing to give me suggestions.
     
  2. Three
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    Three Member

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    It doesn't sound like a prologue is necessary, but I'd have to read it to be sure. It might be needed, or it might just feel like padding. Go with your gut. :)
     
  3. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    You really dont need a prologue for something like this, it's just a massive information dump all at once that the readers could do without.

    If your worried about sharing the story behind how your character met all the other characters, find some way to work it into the story. Like maybe a conversation where they're remembering how they met. Or someone asking them how they met.

    Really though, I'd try to avoid the prologue in this case. If I were reading this book, I wouldn't want the massive info dump before the story, it'd kinda bore me.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Jumping right into the story is a good thing. Eschew prologues, they are usually rubbish.
     
  5. miss_darcy
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    miss_darcy Member

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    I would say scrap the prologue idea. Instead of having one big info dump before the story starts, try bringing the idea that he was so miserable in California and how he met Becky and Christina throughout the novel.
     
  6. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I have a short narrative description on how he met Christina and Becky, and how his co-workers were treating him.

    Thanks, and the last part of the chapter tells the reader know that the narrator felt that his brother doesn't want to deal with him after they saw each other after ten years of separation. I think that already gave the reader enough information in the prologue.
     
  7. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    I would drop all that introductory stuff. The story starts when the character encounters a problem that s/he can not easily solve.

    Does his meeting with Becky and Christina help him solve this problem? If not, leave the meeting out. Does his moving to California help him solve it? If not, leave it out.
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Drop in lines here and there throughout the novel. Don't do a history diatribe. Ever.

    Maybe something like "The woman behind the counter at Starbucks gave him a nasty glare. She looked like his sixth-grade teacher back in California."

    Later, in a different part, let's say he's in a dusty old building:

    "He couldn't close his eyes even for a second without thinking he was back at his old school. The musty old smell and cramped feel was just the same."

    After a lot of this, readers will get nice and clear that his life in California sucked.

    Don't do a prologue, especially not a history diatribe prologue. I always put books down at the library when I see those.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree with all who say to drop the prologue...
     
  10. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    Agreed. Prologue's are great tools for say historical fiction that need some background to the setting. But they are also great if your story had a mystery element and you use it to allude to the theme in a way that it will be clear when combined with the epilogue.

    Jumping right in is perfectly good, as long as you don't rush to the meat of what "you enjoy", because you believe readers find the establishment and foreshadowing of future events boring.

    For instance, in my story, a dark fantasy about a boy (fairytale like - boy goes to far off place ), I establish a 3-D set of real world characters and places, not only to contrast the fantasy, but to let you connect with the boy before he leaves. It also allows you to jump back and forth to characters that are reflecting the themes you are portraying in your fantasy but in real life.

     
  11. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    Prologues are difficult to pull off because you'll need two hooks to pull the reader into your story instead of one. They also can't and shouldn't take away from anything of the story, which includes the most important section of the book that follows, the introduction. Since they're so hard to pull of well, and since whatever's in a prologue can be explained or put elsewhere in the story, they're usually not done and scrapped through the editing process.

    If it feels tacked on, take it off. If it feels like it flows naturally from one amazing opening to another, keep it in there, but stay completely objective to it as you get criticism.
     
  12. SRCroft
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    Another reason for a Prologue

    Also, it depends on what kind of fiction you are writing. Sometimes in stories that are Sci-fi or very fantasy, they can be used to reflect the perspective of the overall picture or narrating entity. A broad and subtle foreshadow of the theme that is cryptic. Its almost as if it says that the story is one layer, but the prologue and the epilogue take a step back and show you another layer of depth. I think Orson Scott Card used it in one book I read where there was an god-like machine watching over the world. It didn't let you know this, but the prologue gave you a feel that the story was being watched from the perspective of this entity.
     

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