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  1. DaydreamerGPSA

    DaydreamerGPSA Member

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    Doubt about Prologues/Introductions

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by DaydreamerGPSA, Nov 9, 2017.

    Recently I wished to add a prologue/introduction to my story. It has a pretty simple message: "I am the narrator and I'll tell the following story". Given my type of narrator I believe it to be necessary, so I gave it a shot.

    I wrote it and liked the final result, the problem is that I feel it might be too long. It spans 4 pages, not including a middle part I still have to write. It introduces the narrator quite well, but many non-story pages right at the beggining...

    Before I scrape it for a shorter version, I would like to ask: Can a prologue this size works or should I definetely redo it?
     
  2. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Is the character sweet?

    You should watch the first five minutes of "Twilight" the movie. The narrator goes on and on and on. It was too much for me, but some people love that kind of thing, especially if they think the person talking is interesting.
     
  3. DaydreamerGPSA

    DaydreamerGPSA Member

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    Sweet is one of the last things I would consider my narrator to be. Respectful, sure (if he likes who he's talking to), but not sweet.

    I do consider him to be interesting though, just not sure if he's enough to justify a long prologue.
     
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Can you clarify why you need a prologue at all?
     
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  5. DaydreamerGPSA

    DaydreamerGPSA Member

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    The prologue would mainly be the narrator introducing himself. Starting with him just telling the story right out of the bat would feel unnatural without much context (at least from my perspective). He presents himself to someone that he never saw before and gets a request to tell the main story of the book.

    Also, he might be a first person narrator, but his view is not limited to his eyes. He's the Overseer, a omniscient being with a knack for telling stories. The prologue would serve to establish this little detail too.
     
  6. DaydreamerGPSA

    DaydreamerGPSA Member

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    Actually, he may be considered more of an embodied third-person narrator, given that he actually exists within the world. That might be more accurate.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    See, I'm in the anti-prologue, don't over-explain, camp. So I strongly suspect that if I read the book, I would argue against having any prologue at all.

    But if the explanation does seem to be needed, I am also wondering why it would be four pages rather than one paragraph or so.
     
  8. DaydreamerGPSA

    DaydreamerGPSA Member

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    I have overdone it a bit, which is why I'm not against the idea of making a shorter version. I put a LOT of stuff in there that could come later on. I plan on making it one page max

    Part of me just wondered if something like a long prologue could work, so I asked.
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    If I were in charge, I would encourage you to move stuff out of the prologue, bit by bit by bit, until there's nothing left in the prologue. :)
     
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  10. DaydreamerGPSA

    DaydreamerGPSA Member

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    Uhm... I was planning on starting chapter one once he starts telling the story, after presenting himself. You appear to suggest I either put his introduction in chapter one, starting the story with it, or scrap it and try to tell it at a later point...

    Could work, but it will require some thought. I'll think about it
     
  11. Johncrawfordz

    Johncrawfordz Member

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    I'm divided on the prologue (at least to keep in perspective)

    However, 4 pages sounds like a bloody lot. It sounded like you included a lot of lore / backstory into the page (I'm assuming as such from non-story stuff).
    If that is the case, it might be better off throwing it as part of the actual story like ChickenFreak said.

    My next question, is knowing the narrator important? Just a point of consideration whether its worth putting so much investment into a narrator for the reader.

    I am starting to imagine it as some kid asking for a man to tell a story and that's how it began. (Another assumption).

    Hope this helps
     
  12. DaydreamerGPSA

    DaydreamerGPSA Member

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    The narrator is an important figure in my world and has a sway of influence in the events of the story, although not directly related to them. I don't need to say who he is right away, but it is something that ought to happen.

    It's not a kid who asked and he offers to tell the story, knowing they would've asked anyway.

    I was thinking a few paragraphs in chapter 1 to let the reader know someone is telling another someone a story, and who is who comes later on.

    "Well well, look who's finally decided I'm worth their time. Most reasonable people would've come for me sooner, all things considered, but I guess I should be flattered you came anyway.

    How about we stop with the insults and start with why you came here? You wanna hear about Vincent, right? He was a nice kid, even spoke to me a couple of times. I'll tell you what happened to him.

    Should've brought some food with you. This is a long one and I don't have any here in these ruins. Anyway, let us begin..."

    Something along those lines.
     
  13. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I usually very much enjoy prologues in narratives. I like to know a little something about the character and the mood of the story before delving into the plot. Hemingway had a way with prologues that drew you right into the setting of his world. Stephen King can describe an entire town and it's people in a great few pages. A great story I read about a year ago was Ready Player One and I still remember the prologue, which was required to understand the circumstance of the diplopia.

    Is four pages only your first draft? I imagine you'll cut it down by quite a bit, a prologue should sound almost lyrical and paint a broad picture, not going into details.
     
  14. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm perfectly okay with prologues if they are necessary to present something that happened outside the timeframe of the story and which the mc cannot explain within the timespan of the story. Based on the above, I would argue strenuously against using a prologue here. I see no difference between what you propose and Melville's "Call me Ishmael" at the start of Moby Dick. But I do see a deeper problem that has nothing to do with the prologue issue. An omniscient first person narrator suggests that the reader will likely be kept at a distance from the characters of the story - the antithesis of the kind of intimacy 1st person narration is supposed to accomplish. Why can't you just tell the story, without the gimmick of the Overseer?
     
  15. DaydreamerGPSA

    DaydreamerGPSA Member

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    I could do the normal first person, with the main character being the POV, but I found the idea of an omniscient first person narrator to be interesting to explore. While I am willing to make changes for the better of my story I'm also willing to try more uncommon approachs.
     
  16. jannert

    jannert Super Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How far along are you with your writing? If you're not finished yet, I'd advise you to just keep going. When you're finished, you'll have a better idea of what the beginning should be.

    I am a fan of prologues in the right place, by the way. But the right place isn't the beginning of every novel.
     
  17. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Size is not the issue; the issue is rather or not your prologue supports what comes after it. Not in terms of content, what mechanical reasons (plot, diction, Rhetoric, theme, etc.) do you have for having a prologue? Everything needs to build on what came before for, and nothing should be added for the sake of just having it.

    To give examples of two prologues that work wonders.

    1. Idylls of the King's prologue is that of King Leodogran debating if he should allow King Arthur to marry his daughter. This entire part sets up all the tragic events that occur in the book (The Death of Merlin, Mordrid's betrayal, Lancelot's and Guinevere's affair.)

    2. The Hellbound heart's prologue shows Frank solving the Lament Configuration. It introduces Frank (the villain of the story), The Lament Configuration and the Cenobites (which acts both as the MC's Bane and salvation at the same time), and sets up the disturbing subtextual ending.

    As we can see both do the same thing: they set things up that support the main story and introduce elements that would be inappropriate to introduce during the main narrative.
     
  18. Poetical Gore

    Poetical Gore Member

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    That is not a prologue. That is a first chapter. A prologue is something that occurs outside of story time or with characters outside of story characters, it is also possible to have a 3rd person view with the story being in first person.
    A prologue is not a place to information dump. There is no need for readers to know everything right from the beginning. The job of your first pages is to make a reader want to read your book and an info dump is the last thing they want to start off with, and a long ass prologue is another thing they don't want.
     

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