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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan N. View Post
    I'm not using weasel words. We know some people don't like prologues and either skip them or feel like it's a chore to read them. Based on that, an author has three choices:

    A: Write the prologue knowing that a percentage of readers will skip it and miss out on useful information.
    B: Write a prologue that doesn't include any useful information.
    C: Don't write a prologue.

    The safest route is C, because the author has a much better idea of how their book is being read and can provide the readers with the information they need in a controlled fashion.

    B is a waste of everyone's time. Why write a prologue that serves no purpose?

    A is fine, but does mean the writer has to accept some percentage (and we don't know how much) of readers will miss out on key information.

    In an ideal world, readers would behave and always read the damn prologue. But they don't, so it's up to the writer to weigh up whether the benefits of a prologue outweighs the negatives.

    It sounds to me like you're proceeding from a false assumption.

    Almost any reader with read the first page. If it's really good, they will turn to the second page.

    I do believe that many readers skip forewords and prefaces, but I don't think that carries over to prologues.



  2. #42
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    There is a lot of discussion on the Internet about prologues. All of it is anecdotal, so I have no idea what percentage of readers skip prologues, but it's certainly enough to raise the discussion in multiple places. I couldn't find any statistical surveys.
    Last edited by Nathan N.; 09-21-2011 at 03:50 AM.

  3. #43
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    When an agent asks for the first X number of pages, that means the FIRST X number of pages--not the X number of pages after the prologue. They want to see your novel from the beginning for a reason.

  4. #44
    Visiting Tralfamadore
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    I agree with Lea. If a prologue is written well, I'll probably read the book. There have been a few instances, however, that I've not bothered reading books based on the content of the prologue.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan N. View Post
    There is a lot of discussion on the Internet about prologues. All of it is anecdotal, so I have no idea what percentage of readers skip prologues, but it's certainly enough to raise the discussion in multiple places. I couldn't find any statistical surveys.
    It sounds like an urban myth.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Avonne Writer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smiling Curmudgeon View Post
    Avonne, I guess I'm odd man out.

    If my tale started with a prologue, I'd include it in the material I sent.

    Cur
    Maybe I misread what Gary said. When I made the statement that an agent would be possibly looking at only 3-5 pages of sample material (which many agents only ask for that amount of sampling) I stated that the prologue could waste that space. Gary said that the prologue is front matter, not body text. So, to that extent, either the prologue would be sent along with the 3-5 pg sampling or you would forward just the body text starting at chapter 1. Me personally, I started with a prologue but didn't want to only send that portion when asked for a small sample of writing. So, I incorporated the prologue into the story to avoid doing just that.

    The one thing that I have read over and over on agents' websites is that if you do not follow their instructions to the T, then they will reject based solely on that. So, given that, I would not personally send a prologue in addition to the 3-5 pages of body text material.

    I dunno. Gary should clarify. Which would it be? Send the prologue in addition to the requested sampling amount (so, if 5 pages requested, you'd send the 5 plus the prologue), or send it as part of the requested amount (prologue included in the 5-which above you said was a negative), or don't send it t all.

    I think that covers this portion.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Avonne Writer's Avatar
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    Oops, sorry Gary, I didn't find where you'd answered already.

  8. #48
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    From Nathan Bransford--just one agent's opinion, but he is top in his field:

    "As for the more nuts and bolts concern of whether it (the prologue) should be included in partials sent to agents: yes. It should.

    I want to see the first 30 pages as you want me to send them to the editor. If that involves a prologue... let's see it."

    http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/03/prologues.html

  9. #49
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    From Nathan Bransford--just one agent's opinion, but he is top in his field:
    FYI: Bransford is no longer an agent; his first novel is out (a children's story, I think), plus he now works in the tech field.

    (But I think the advice he gave then is still valid now.)

  10. #50
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    There are other agents, of course, who disagree with him.

    I think if I were leery about sending my prologue, it might make me question whether or not I had confidence in my prologue.

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