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Gargh
April 28th, 2013, 05:03 PM
My NaNo novel has a prologue and epilogue written from the point of view of the main character's father. The rest of the book is written as her so I've used him to contextualise things at either end that were before and after her lifetime and also to offer a different opinion on them. So, take it for granted that I think the chapters are necessary to the story. However, I keep hearing conflicting opinions about whether or not pro/epilogues are necessary or worthwhile. I have also been told that a lot of publishers/agents switch off at the mere thought of them and that I should just change them to numbered chapters. Any thoughts? :-?

shadowwalker
April 28th, 2013, 07:49 PM
As you noted, there are differing opinions on them. IMO, if they're well-written and used appropriately, why not? Some readers skip them, some agents/publishers don't like them - but other readers don't skip them and other agents/publishers don't hate them. It's your story. Write it the way you think it's best.

Gargh
April 28th, 2013, 08:39 PM
As you noted, there are differing opinions on them. IMO, if they're well-written and used appropriately, why not? Some readers skip them, some agents/publishers don't like them - but other readers don't skip them and other agents/publishers don't hate them. It's your story. Write it the way you think it's best.

Encouraging to hear it's not a defining trend. I really prefer having them that way but if I thought changing them to Chapter 1 and Chapter 14 would increase my chances of getting it read then I'm not stupid enough to say no. However, without actual experience of the publishing industry, I have no idea if the snippets of advice I've already been given are true or not so it's good to get another perspective, thanks.

shadowwalker
April 28th, 2013, 09:57 PM
Just a note - properly written prologues/epilogues cannot be renamed into chapters - they are not chapters. (It's one of the major irritants to me when these discussions occur :deadhorse:)

Gargh
April 28th, 2013, 10:09 PM
That helps actually - looking at the straight dictionary definitions of both clears it up, for me at least. They are definitely pro-/epilogues because of their nature. I shall be able to say 'thrrrrrp' with more confidence next time someone tells me to change it (without reading it!).

carastone
April 29th, 2013, 03:39 AM
Gargh--

I truly despise prologues. Certain authors use them incessantly, and they always start with dry, boring, historical background. I can't wait to be done with them, and start the actual story! And then, invariably, I realize how relevant the prologue was to the story, and I appreciate the fact that, without the prologue, a certain degree of depth would have been lacking. It sounds like your prologue is similar--without the dry, boring history, of course! My point is that a prologue should be included only if it is essential to the story. What I like about your description is that the prologue is written from the father's pov. That is both intriguing and sentimental (perhaps). Another thought to consider (and perhaps shadowwalker could weigh in on this with more knowledge than I have) is that you might be able to submit your sample, beginning with chapter one. That way you can hook an agent first, and let him/her fall in love with your story before dropping the hammer.

Best of luck,
Cara Stone
sites.google.com/site/carastonenovels/

Gargh
April 29th, 2013, 01:14 PM
you might be able to submit your sample, beginning with chapter one. That way you can hook an agent first, and let him/her fall in love with your story before dropping the hammer/

That has possibilities. Thanks. The more discussion, the more certain I become that they have to be pro-/epilogues and that they are essential to the story in that format. It's funny, the prologue was initially a short story from the father's pov but when I read it to my writing group they were the ones who wanted to know what happened to the daughter but when I got to the end of her story I realised the father was the only way I could satisfactorily tie things up. He is first person and she is closed third person.

lordusan
May 14th, 2013, 11:24 PM
I really think you should go with the Prologue/Epilogue. If you seem satisfied with it, as you obviously do, I suggest you don't let any publisher stop you. I personally love Prologues/Epilogues, they heighten the tension. However, you might wanna try cutting it up and inserting a snippet at the beginning of the chapter; like Ender's Game, neh?

Gargh
May 14th, 2013, 11:54 PM
Like the idea, don't know Ender's Game but will look it up. Not sure it will work in this instance but am always a fan of new devices. One of my favourite, as a reader, is to have relevant quotes head up chapters, with particular reference to Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South. I know so many people vehemently dislike it but in a politically or philosophically grounded novel I think it works.

lordusan
May 16th, 2013, 10:59 PM
Like the idea, don't know Ender's Game but will look it up. Not sure it will work in this instance but am always a fan of new devices. One of my favourite, as a reader, is to have relevant quotes head up chapters, with particular reference to Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South. I know so many people vehemently dislike it but in a politically or philosophically grounded novel I think it works.

Well, heres the basic idea:

[Chapter Title]

[pro/epilogue snippet]

[rest of chapter]

DainTheDarkness
May 30th, 2013, 06:28 PM
I think prologues and epilogues can be pretty cool if you do them properly and they actually add to your writing. Don't stick them in for the hell of it though.