Wednesday, March 16, 2011

To Pre or Not to Pre

Thought for the day: Forget the health food; I need all the preservatives I can get.

I'm confused. Maybe you can help.

To "pre" or not to "pre"; that really is the question here. I mean, to be pre-pared is always good, not to mention smart. Pre-natal care is vital, and if you have a boatload of money, I suppose a pre-nuptial agreement is probably a good idea, too.

But I'm talking about the "pre" in writing, AKA a prologue. Some books have 'em; some don't. When you're reading a book with a prologue, do you actually READ that prologue?  Do you have an opinion about them? Do you consider them a good idea, a bad idea, or are they maybe just symptomatic of writers being too darned lazy to write a better first chapter?


Heaven forbid that anyone should consider me "lazy", but I've been seriously considering the possibility of adding a prologue to my novel. Throughout the bazillion rewrites of the first chapter of  Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, the starting point has always been nine and a half months after an upsetting event in the main character's life, and that's still where I think it should begin. But recently, a very small part of me piped in, and wants to start with the actual upset itself. (damn that small part!) It's likely that experiencing the event would allow readers to better sympathize with the character from the get-go, so I'm thinking, why not let a prologue do that?  Any opinions?

Me, I always read the prologues. (and epilogs) The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of utilizing a prologue. But, if I'm the only weirdo who actually reads them, why bother?

Crud. Maybe I am lazy.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Hmm. This is a toughie. I happen to like a good prologue, but I may be in the minority. These days, conventional wisdom says to start the story with chapter one, that prologues are too easy for the reader to skim over, if not skip entirely. (Apparently readers are an impatient bunch.)

    You know what? Why not write your prologue and just see how you like it? See if it works for you. If it does, keep it.

    Because, really, you can break any "rule" you want long as it works. ;)

  2. Hi, Linda.

    Thanks for the input. I do believe I'll move forward with the prologue. (ooh, better yet, I'll move forward with forward!) It'll require a tad of rewriting later on in the book, but c'est la vie. (la vie!)