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  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Sounds like you're doing exactly what you need to do -- research, think through all the options, decide what works best for you.

    Even better that you understand that the story isn't done until, it's actually done. Your agent and editor will help you deal with such questions. I didn't have a prologue for my first novel, but my agent asked me to try one that would bring together the two time lines in the story and the two POV character voices. I'd never considered a prologue but ended up loving it. It didn't start the story with a bang, in fact it slowed the inciting incident, but I think it helped situate the reader in a story that was going to dash about in time and between perspectives.

    With my second book, I've written a prologue from the start because it deals with an event that took place twenty years before the main timeline. I could just feed it in as flashback. But I like giving the event its own little frame.

    Good luck.

  2. #12
    I'd recommend strongly against a prologue. I personally know more than one agent who flat-out doesn't read prologues. Instead, I'd open strong with your alien planet -- and then layer in the backstory as needed throughout the first few chapters. (And you'd be surprised at how little backstory you actually need to get the ball rolling. It's less than you think.) Good luck with your book!

  3. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I've never written a prologue for any of my novels, but I would if I thought it were needed. Even so, Laurence, if I were currently querying I'd avoid those agents you mention like the plague, for two reasons. First, I don't want to waste my time trying to get the approval of somebody that narrow minded and second because it sounds like those agents are looking for excuses to reject queries without expending any thought on them. In either case, not somebody I'd want to be involved with.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Avonne Writer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Southern California, USA
    I like you Joe. (or should i call you jeff. lol) You're always so practical. Sound advice, btw.

  5. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Australia - for now ;)
    Well my MS has a prologue - although it is not very long, I felt is was/is necessary and I intend to keep it.
    I like it, I like the mood/tone it sets and it helps explain an unknown diety, which, without the prologue would appear to most as 'just another witch.'

    But I would like to point out that is it very short - at around 300 odd words. It was closer to 450 odd but with a little help from 'my friends' on here (privately) I could see how it was easy to cut back 100-odd words and in effect, improve it.

    I think it comes down to the writer, the writing and the need.
    Personally I have no issue with prologues, as long as they do not end up being a hybrid CH1. I have 'thumbed through' prologues of 4-6 pages, without reading a word. However, prologues of under a page, I happily read as I figure the writer has a need. It also tells me a little about the writing style and quite frankly, if I dislike the prologue, I put down the book.

    My second MS which I am now starting to return to, has no prologue because it didn't warrant one.

    In the end, if you are honest and listen to your story, it will tell you what you need.

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