I’m an Indie Author. What does that mean? It means that I write because I enjoy writing, and then I share it with the world through self-publishing. Have I tried submitting my work to an actual publisher? Not even once. Have I considered doing so? Maybe in the future, but not so far at this point.
After finishing my first two books (one story, two perspectives), I decided to get some feedback before delving into my next writing project. First, I wanted to know what worked well and what I could have improved on in my finished books.
The feedback I received was mostly positive, but I was lucky to also receive some constructive criticism on what I could work on to do better the next time. Then there was some, shall we say, less-than-constructive feedback, that still ended up being helpful in a way. It was ultimately what led me to invest in the beta-reading and editing services. This was the feedback that centered more on the personal preferences of the reader that really had nothing to do with my writing.
I’ve seen some pretty solid advice through various sources, but there is one thing I just can’t quite figure out. That is, WHY are there so many people in the writing industry, whether it be publishers, agents, editors, or whoever, who are completely and unwaveringly against Prologues? So much so that, many people are said to not ever read a prologue of a book. They just skip it all together.
Many articles I see about this are chock full of individual opinions, and few have given any really credible and persuasive information. In fact, many of them are contradictory from one to the other on why these are a bad idea versus when it is okay to use a prologue.
This article, in my opinion, has a lot more merit than the previous one above, because it qualifies what it means, such as “not having the sole purpose of….” instead of just saying not having those things at all.
In this article, what SHOULD a prologue be includes:
To resolve a time gap with info critical to the story (hello, contradiction)
A critial element in the backstory is relevant to the plot. (another contradiction!)
The reasons NOT to use a prologue include:
A vehicle for a massive info dump
Has nothing to do with the main story
Having the sole purpose to “hook” the reader
Being overly long
Written in a totally different style and voice that is never tied back into the main story
Having the sole purpose of setting the mood
I’d probably agree with most, if not all, of these in this particular article.