Most books on writing or self-editing tell you to never put a prologue in your book. I do understand this since most prologues are very boring and way too long. This can lead to the reader giving up on the book before they even have a chance to read it. An interesting prologue can easily be your first chapter. However, I have noticed more and more books with prologues.
The most justifiable form of prologue is the backstory prologue. Of course, even this can be interspersed into the main story a little at a time or placed as the first scene of chapter one.
The second type of prologue is the flash-forward prologue. The name tells you what it is. Once again this prologue can be placed as the first chapter or the first scene in chapter one.
Another type is the body-on-page-one prologue. Even though you do need to introduce the murder within the first 100 pages, the prologue may be a bit premature, causing our chapter one to fall flat. It is not necessary to open the book with the murder. There is something to be said for building up to it.
Lastly is the summary prologue. This is where the narrator looks back on the experience about to be told, summarizing the lessons learned. In other words, this is the story’s theme. Not essential to the book itself, but some publishers do as for this when considering your book. So take it out of the book, and it will never be missed.
If you use a prologue, make sure it is useful and serves a well-integrated purpose which is necessary to the story.
Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books: The Bible Murders and Sarah’s Secret
Member of: Sisters In Crime
Writers on the Move