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For Aspiring Writers

From the Experts: Writers Tips #3


Prologues are often just a section of backstory or setup relabelled as prologue. It ain’t foolin’ nobody, chum. Sorry. It’s just the same wine in a slightly different bottle. If it looks like backstory or setup, walks like backstory or setup, quacks like backstory or setup—then it’s Donald-the-Backstory/Setup-Duck. Setting it apart and calling it something else isn’t going to work. Here’s some advice on prologues: Mostly: Don’t do ’em.

There are, of course, exceptions. One popular exception is a prologue in a book in an established series. A prologue is sometimes used in such a book simply to bring the fans of the series up to speed for the current
read.

There are other legitimate reasons to employ a prologue. But don’t use one if you’re just trying to sneak in backstory.

Hooked, Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One by Les Edgerton

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4 thoughts on “From the Experts: Writers Tips #3

  1. Interesting info. Thanks!

  2. The same goes for adding a bit AFTER the story to wrap things up. In most cases it is unnecessary or would have worked better in the denouement. (<—fancy word. Yea!)

  3. S.Z. Williams on said:

    I used to love the prologue, but I force myself to get right into the thick of things now that I know better.

  4. @Doug: I completely agree – the same applies for epilogues *and* that is a fancy a word! 😛

    Thanks for all your comments 🙂

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