Once, in a dungeon far, far away, there was a girl who pounded out a story born of dreams. When she completed this story, she edited and edited, finally giving it to a beta reader, then editing again. She gathered up all her courage, despite fear and insecurity, and submitted that story to a contest, then another. Each set of feedback she received was seriously considered, some of it used to tweak the story a bit, but one question lingered...
Should I put a prologue or keep the discovery of the situation gradual?
The word out there is so anti-prologue that it's hard to decide if I'm avoiding a prologue because I think it's the wrong choice, or if I'm doing it because I'm afraid of the prologue due to constant "NO PROLOGUE" dialogue around the cyber writing world. Are they really so bad?
I've been paying close attention to the books I read, and whether they feature a prologue or not. So far, I have not run across one (at least not while I've been paying attention) that I found to be annoying or unnecessary. Well, maybe unnecessary, but I didn't think that it was a bad thing.
A prologue can set the scene or give back story that might be too hard to place convincingly into the story. However, some consider it a lazy writer's crutch. While I don't agree with this concept, at least to an extent, do I want to face those who do and have them automatically turned off when it comes to my story? Do I want others to consider me a lazy writer? Am I?
Here's the thing: I've already written the story without a prologue. In fact, I don't recall wanting to put a prologue in at the beginning. Instead, I worked to weave bits of the back story into the tale, making sure the reader discovers answers alongside the characters. BUT there is a catalyst that has put them in the position they're in, something the characters are fully aware of from the beginning. that might benefit from the prologue treatment. In the meantime, that's one thing I've had to establish immediately in the story, and that involves a little more "telling" than I might have preferred, though I've broken it up. If my concept is that the reader discovers the answers with the characters, shouldn't the reader know what they know from the beginning?
Before I sign out, I wanted to say that I am FINALLY catching up on my blog comments from April to now. I know I dropped the ball in a few places, and I'm going through to respond, though likely few will see it after all this time, and visiting the blogs of those who commented during that time and did not get a previous visit from me. As of today, I've made it back to the A-to-Z Reflections post, so it is just the A-to-Z posts I got behind on, which isn't all of them, thankfully! Then I can start catching up on the lists of participants. Shew. Feels good to finally be catching up.
Also, here's a BuNoWriMo status update (based off of one half-hour of writing, plus three hours on another day):
What are your feelings on prologues? Is there a place for them? Do you have any examples of particularly good or bad prologues? Do you think it's the sign of a lazy writer or a useful tool, when necessary? Did you ever get around to all your A-to-Z commenters? How are you BuNo'ers doing?
May you find your Muse.