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prologues?

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prologues?

Postby athalia » Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:52 am

As I am nearing the end of my book, I find myself going back to my prologue and wanting to expand it, so that there is more of a back story to set up the actual book. Now I am aware that prolgues can range from a few sentences to an entire chapter, but I was curious as to what most people find to be the most explanatory, and least distracting from the main story?
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Postby LightBrigade » Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:15 pm

That towards the end, you return to the prologue is a good sign *encouraging smile*

Whether this prologue is to be a few lines or a whole chapter depends on the kind of story you have created really.

May you like to have direct opinion for the particular prologue, one has to know the story to the point you have reached.

There are a few milestones though writers usually follow.

- Does the first sentence in the prologue, or the first paragraph compel the reader to continue reading?
- Does the whole prologue set the premises of story place and story time?
- Does the prologue introduce the main characters? And how, in what order so as to cause initial interest?
- Is it necessary that their introduction is in the prologue or not, for this particular story?
- Does the prologue reveal too much, endangering the story to be spoilt, when the reader will lose interest?

- - -
Prologue means "before the word".

*coughing* Excuse me, may I, please, have a word with you, old friend Athalia? *offers a rose bud as he smiles softly* (<- That was a prologue.)

The word is what the writer means to convey using the story.

Why the reader should listen, is a matter managed in the prologue.

So when the story ends, the purpose of the writer shows at the end as the natural climax of the writer's aim. The writer has told the 'word' meaning to tell from the start.
When people agree with me, I always feel that I must be wrong. -- Oscar Wilde --
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Postby berry » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:17 am

I am struggling with the practicality of getting parts of my story across. It is a challenge to do it without huge info dumps or having my characters tell each other in large paragraphs of dialogue, which can often be rather unconvincing.

That said, just as a mater of taste I am not fond of prologues unless there is a series of books and even then most of the time you've read the others so it's still not really necessary. If the information is needed wouldn’t it be better off in the story? If the info doesn’t sit right in the story do we really need to know?
but then again I can't say I have lots of clever devices for doing so another way and it is just a matter of personal taste.
Outside of a dog, a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
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Postby Neurolanis » Tue Jul 03, 2007 5:22 pm

Hmm. Whatever comes first is most important, as it is what a reader/editor/agent reads first. So a prologue should be the finest example of your writing, and should compliment and assist what follows professionally. Otherwise, I'd drop it. If you need advice you might have to let a friend read it and your first chapter to give you an opinion on how it works on its own, and how it fits with the story which follows.
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Postby LightBrigade » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:04 pm

So wisely said, Neurolanis! :smt045
- - -
berry wrote:I am struggling with the practicality of getting parts of my story across. It is a challenge to do it without huge info dumps or having my characters tell each other in large paragraphs of dialogue, which can often be rather unconvincing.

Summarising has always been of the most challenging exercises. What remains after that may either come in as you mention, Berry, with the characters telling about it, or in other ways.

A story may well be something different from a dialogue array.

Here, the point of view, the narrator comes in. For example, an introductory paragraph at the beginning of each chapter may include enlightening information. If it is clearly dense, it will be inevitably perceived as valuable and be gone through as such by an earnest reading eye.

What may appear as dispersing the task of characters to cover for detailed information the writer needs to give out, may become an allotment of small bits of information a variety of characters will be telling, now this, then that.

In this practice, gradual revelations may enhance some perception of suspense, for example.

Sometimes, three or four characters may argue about the validity of historic information they have, in an author's scope of setting a record for the reader to know as background.

A younger character may challenge an elder character's memory and by brief exchange of dense speech, give out what would otherwise be a load of uninteresting information.

One single period inserted in breaking up a dialogue, where the neutral narrator announces a turn or a premise, illumines the scene and the understanding of the reader. Who is eager to hear the characters continue to speak developing the story.

Of course, tailor-made suggestions and views are hardly of any use in creative writing in its abstract mentioning. Perhaps you would like to examine the possibility of entering a piece of work here, at SV, with a lot of information you need to include, along with some character participation, if possible, and see if there is some useful suggestion for the cause.

---------------
Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing. - Oscar Wilde -
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Postby Violanthe » Sat Aug 04, 2007 1:02 pm

My advice on prologues is always this: rename them Chapter 1
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