Prologues: Love ’em or Hate ’em

Melanie Roussel

What is past is prologue.

The Tempest, William Shakespeare

Everyone seems to have a strong opinion on prologues. Do a quick search online and you’ll find plenty of articles advising you to ditch the prologue. As I’ve been frequently told, editors don’t like them. They’re seen as the equivalent of clearing your throat before getting started on the story. Not only that but at my writer’s group, I was amazed at the number of people who confessed to skipping the prologue and only going back to read it after the main story. That was something of a horrifying revelation to me.

There are plenty of reasons why you should skip the prologue. Often, it’s providing unnecessary context. Sometimes you’ll write something so wonderful which doesn’t actually need to be in the story. In those cases, maybe you figure ‘well, I’ll just stick it in the front as a prologue.’…

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