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Prolouge or no Prolouge (1 Viewer)

columbo1977

Senior Member
Hi all

Just planning out this years NaNo and I am trying to decide how to start the book. Starting from Chapter 1 I will be going 3 beginnings, each one will be the same person but from a different dimension (showing thier differences) each with a crisis of thier own, but all related to the main plot.

My question is , should I do a prolouge? I was going to show events that start the main plot drive happening (an alien race being woken up then rampaging through the human colonies) and then the novel starts a few years later in the middle of the war.

Should I do the prolouge or just start the book where I was going to?

Cheers

Graham
 

Nacian

Senior Member
Hi
I would suggest to do both and see what effects it has.
I personally when I read a book I tend to go straight to the story and find out for myself.
reading the prologue kind of spols it for me..but then others might disagree...they may want a prologue so really doing both is I what I thinkis best.
 

Sam

General
Patron
Prologues are rarely necessary. If you're going to use it for exposition and back-story, no. I know it's only NaNo, but prologues which chart the entire history of planets, characters, or otherwise are nothing more than a huge info dump, and potentially mind-numbingly boring. You can drip-feed the reader this information later on. Chapter one should usually, if not always, start with a bang, to force the reader to keep reading.
 

Steerpike

Senior Member
I generally do not like prologues at all. If I pick up a book at the store and see a prologue, there's a good chance it goes back on the shelf.
 

Sunny

WF Veterans
I don't love prologues, and I don't hate them either. If they're there, I'll read them. Half of the books on my shelf have them, and the other half of them don't. I've read a lot of agents don't like them, if you're going to try and send out your book one day.
 

j.w.olson

Senior Member
I always suggest starting to tell the story at the start of the story. Prologues, generally, are an attempt to cheat and give all the backstory before the story starts. Which I see as bad story telling.

Unless this is a continuation of a series and you need to catch us up on previous books, I say no. Or if you're already a published writer and want to do an introduction about how/why you wrote it, that's good too.
 

Steerpike

Senior Member
I always suggest starting to tell the story at the start of the story. Prologues, generally, are an attempt to cheat and give all the backstory before the story starts. Which I see as bad story telling.

Yep. This is why I often won't buy a book with a prologue. If I do buy one, I'll skip the prologue as often as reading it. If the prologue is the real start of the story, then it should be Chapter 1. If it isn't the start of the story, then it shouldn't be there.
 

Rob

Senior Member
Should I do the prolouge or just start the book where I was going to?
This is Nano, Graham, so the chances are what you'll end up with here is a complete or partially complete rough first draft that still needs a lot of work to shape it into a second draft. Nano is all about word count and not about quality. In that context, then, it doesn't really matter whether you begin with a prologue or not. For the moment, just get it written. Afterwards, you can get it right. In getting it right, you can add a prologue, or remove a prologue or rewrite a prologue or rewrite a first chapter, as you see fit. There's quite a high probability that whatever you start with will get a significant rewrite either way.

Good luck hitting Nano.
 

Rob

Senior Member
Chapter one should usually, if not always, start with a bang, to force the reader to keep reading.
If you were to replace bang with hook, and force with encourage, I'd be inclined to agree. But not as written. Some great novels begin quietly, no bang, but with a hook that sucks you right in.
 

Rob

Senior Member
Prologues, generally, are an attempt to cheat and give all the backstory before the story starts. Which I see as bad story telling.
A badly written prologue is a badly written prologue, but are prologues generally an attempt to cheat and give all the backstory before the story starts? Not in my experience. That isn't what prologues are intended for at all, and not how I see them used.
 

TheFuhrer02

WF Veterans
There's this novel I've read a fairly long time ago, entitled The Ambiguity of Murder, that actually has the sort of three beginnings you're referring to. It didn't have a prologue. The three beginnings were instead place into three separate chapters. It worked well, in my opinion.

Here's a link of it in Amazon, in case you're interested: The Ambiguity of Murder
(Disclaimer: I have no vested interest in this book. I do not own it, nor have I written it. The link was posted just as a matter of fact.)
 

j.w.olson

Senior Member
A badly written prologue is a badly written prologue, but are prologues generally an attempt to cheat and give all the backstory before the story starts? Not in my experience. That isn't what prologues are intended for at all, and not how I see them used.

Fair enough. I suppose I've also seen them function as a misnamed first chapter. What purpose do you see for them?
 

Tiamat

Patron
In a final draft, I say no prologue. However, for Nano, I say write the blasted thing. Here's why: First of all, it's Nano and who cares? It's not like you'll be submitting the thing for publication on December 1st, after all. Secondly, and more importantly, writing a prologue (even if you end up ditching it later) often helps get you situated on what you'll be writing in the coming weeks. Sure, it might be an info-dumb. Yeah, it might not serve any real purpose when all is said and done. But what it will do is get you focused. Plus you never know when you'll stumble upon a good idea, and it might just happen while you're writing the prologue and you realize you might want to change a rather important aspect of your story.

Write. That's what Nano is all about. Just write.
 
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