Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

No to the prologue??

I like the prologue. It’s useful. Who cares if no one else reads them? I read them!

In YA, prologues are a no-no, or so everyone says. But they are everywhere. Out of the last few series of books I’ve read, approx. twelve out of fifteen books, had a prologue. So who’s right and who is reading the prologue? Besides me?

I know a lot of readers skip them and move to the action, but sometimes we need that beginning info to further understand the story. Who cares if it’s back story? Some stories, especially those that are historical or move back and forth through time, need back story.

Prologue thoughts? Opinions? Good, bad, don’t care?

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8 responses

  1. Quite often, the prologue speaks to the writer, not the reader. It’s the author’s chance to throw out some melodrama of internal narration or a high-action scene that the author thinks will act as a “hook” for the reader. Generally, it doesn’t work, if only because out of context, the reader has absolutely no reason to care about the story or its characters yet.

    I say that if you’re want to use the prologue as a kind of hook or dramatic flash-forward commentary along the lines of “When I met so and so, I didn’t know I was going to die”, I say merge it into the first chapter, or have an excerpt page at the beginning of the novel (much like romance novels do).

    For me, the prologue (especially in YA) is a gimmick that tries to cover up weak writing or weak storytelling. I can certainly list a few books where the prologue worked perfectly with the story. But more often than not, it’s filler.

    June 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    • I agree that often prologues are used as a hook to furter draw in the reader. Sometimes it works, other times, not so much. I also agree that they are used for the writer more than reader in certain books. In some series books, however, if done correctly, they can be useful. Especially if the series contains several books with a wide scope of characters and movement through time and history. Thank you for sharing;)

      June 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

  2. Interesting. A good prologue gets you interested in the universe. I think where prologues fail is when they attempt to move the main plot forward & that is something that should be done in the main story itself. So the prologue is the alley-oop and the story is the following slam dunk (Sorry I just finished playing basketball)

    June 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    • So a prologue shouldn’t move the story forward, but get the reader interested in the universe? Could you give me an example of how this could be done?

      You comment makes me think back to all the fantasy prologues that stuffed socio-geographic info dumps at me, or were used to tell some kind of creation myth that was supposed to frame the story, but just ended up annoying the feathers off me.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    • When they are done correctly I believe they further interest the reader and help to pull them in. This is becoming a controversal topic;) Interesting. Thanks for commenting.

      June 19, 2011 at 10:43 am

  3. I guess it depends on the execution of the prologue that guides my opinion of them. Case by case basis.

    Prologues that give me history, or backstory, into the world I’m about to engage that really doesn’t have to do with the central protagonist are always welcome. It sets the stage for the epic adventure I’m about to embark upon.

    Prologues that are just glorified Chapter 1’s are a bit more annoying. Either way, they’re much different than a Forward or Acknowledgement. Whether they’re done well or not, they’re still part of a story. I never actually realized people just skip them…

    Thanks for bringing this to light. I may now have to become an activist and advocate of making sure to read your prologues. Kind of like making sure people should eat their veggies. Then again, I’ll probably just go back to reading more blogs.

    June 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    • Agreed. Yes, they are skipped often. A lot of people hate prologues which is why I’m interested in the overall view of opinions. Thanks for commenting;)

      June 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

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