HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    M.L. Fuhriman

    Question about Prologues

    Are prologue's taboo for unpublished writers, trying to get published? I am working on the finishing touches (editing) to a novel that currently has a prologue that takes place thirty years before the story begins. The events tie in (in a major way) to the story about two thirds of the way through. The prologue is nearly 5000 words. I have seen other authors use long prologues but would you suggest tossing it and working the elements into the story (flashbacks, explanations, etc. - it will lose some of the impact but...) or making it chapter one and then jump thirty years to start chapter two?

    Thanks in advance...
    M.L. Fuhriman

  2. #2
    Josh Lemay

    Re: Question about Prologues

    I think it depends on the prologue, to be honest. Short ones that are only there as an info dump are dull and probably not a great way to start things off for someone that is unpublished.

    At 5,000 words, I think your prologue is more of a first chapter, to be honest. That's pretty long. Just because it happens 30 years before, doesn't mean it has to necessarily be a prologue. It's hard to say, though. First, I only know about what I've researched, so my outsider information on this could be skewed or wrong. And second, I haven't read your particular prologue.

  3. #3
    Gary Kessler

    Re: Question about Prologues

    Anything can work; equally, anything can not work. There's no good advice to give you, really, in the abstract on your specific circumstance.

  4. #4
    Jack Scoltock

    Re: Question about Prologues

    Read any of Clive Cussler's adventure novels. He always opens with a fairly long first chapter that takes the reader back hundreds of years. I think it's a good way to introduce the coming adventures of Dirk Pitt and his other heroes.

  5. #5
    M.L. Fuhriman

    Re: Question about Prologues

    Thanks guys, this helps a lot! In case you have time, here is a quick synopsis of the prologue I am talking about and how it ties in later... But I'm thinking now to just make it chapter one. Do I write out "THIRTY YEARS LATER" at the beginning of chapter two, just list dates, or say nothing at all and let the reader figure it out, eventually? Thanks again!

    Prince Arrkus and his father are traveling with their imperial emissary to fulfill the terms of an ancient treaty with the mountain people, the Xerrati. In four centuries, the Xerrati have never shown up to present a possible bride for a Rothan prince but the treaty demands each generation presents itself, regardless. An argument between the king and emissary is interrupted when they arrive at their destination and discover the Xerrati waiting for them.
    After a confrontation, where the emissary attacks the Xerrati leader and is killed by a sorcerer accompanying the Xerrati, Arrkus and his father accept the betrothal. Arrkus, normally devoid of ambition, becomes impassioned when he sees his prospective bride. The Xerrati give him two stones of power and he lusts over the stones even more than the Xerrati woman. Arrkus is told he will have a son who will, one day, destroy him. He departs with his betrothed, the stones of power, and a realization that his true, evil nature has surfaced.

    Thirty years later, as the story progresses, the evil that Arrkus has been working with the stones is revealed and about two thirds of the way in, the protagonist learns he is the son of this union - hidden away from his father, by his mother... Kind of a cliche, I know but in the story there are some twists to keep it from being such a blatant one.

  6. #6
    Lea Zalas

    Re: Question about Prologues


    Sounds interesting. I had suggested changing the prologue to Chapter One and I really think that because of the length you should. I would start both chapters with the date. The reader will get that years have passed and it will save you a lengthy explanation.

    But you're the writer and you need to do what you feel is right for your story. We're here to help, but that doesn't mean we always know best.


  7. #7

    Re: Question about Prologues

    "The prologue is nearly 5000 words."

    Being blunt...that's ridiculous. If it's 5,000 words, it's a chapter and should be treated as such. And, if it takes 5,000 words to setup your story, something is wrong.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts