Three Things a Prologue Can Do

Originally posted on graemecummingdotnet:
After giving some feedback to Marje (find her on the delightfully quirky blog site Kyrosmagica) about the prologue to her current WIP, she suggested I write a post on the subject.  I suspect my enthusiasm for prologues came across quite strongly. To be fair, I think that enthusiasm stems from a misspent childhood. (Sadly, when I say misspent, I mean my life revolved around the TV rather than getting up to any more interesting shenanigans.) You see, a lot of the TV shows of the 60s and 70s opened with a scene to set up the rest of the programme. That set-up might be a crime being committed, a pursuit (surprisingly often in the case of The Avengers), or even an incident unrelated to the rest of the story, but demonstrating the hero’s abilities. The bottom line, though, is that prologues are basically pre-title sequences. I was talking to another author a couple of years ago who’d read Ravens Gathering and felt I should get rid of the prologue.  I can’t recall her exact argument, but the sense I had was that prologues were no longer considered either necessary or (for want of a better word) fashionable.  Never having been noted for my fashion sense, this wasn’t an argument I was ever going to agree with.  What matters to me is whether it works. So here’s what I think a prologue can do: Introduce a significant character…

Read More →