A prologue is a brief portion of writing that comes before the main plot.
The prologue is frequently used to enrich the reader’s grasp of the tale, but it may also be used to offer history that is necessary for comprehending the storyline.
A prologue might be as little as a page or two or as long as a whole chapter, or even multiple chapters.
Nonlinear storytelling — shifting from one historical period to another and from one character’s perspective to another — may be perplexing for readers.
Use a prologue (or epilogue) to let people figure out where they are. The structure of your prologue is determined by your story.
What matters most is that you utilize it intelligently.
What Is The Difference Between A Preface, Foreword, Introduction, And Prologue?
While prefaces, forewords, and introductions all serve the same purpose of giving extra background for the information to follow, they differ significantly from a prologue.
A prologue is essentially the author describing to the reader how the book came to be, who was involved in its development, and other details regarding the book’s creation.
A prelude is not necessary for the tale and can be omitted without affecting the reader’s comprehension.
The preface is often written by a noteworthy individual – someone who knows the author or has exceptional understanding of the subject matter of the book.
This figure will frequently support the writer or book and introduce it to readers.
An introduction is written from the author’s perspective and includes additional information to assist the reader comprehend the subject of the book, such as historical context.
Prefaces are mostly used in factual publications.
A prologue is usually exclusively used in literature. It provides information about the tale to the reader in the same manner as the story.
As a result, even if it’s in a different timeframe or perspective, the language of a prologue will have the same literary style and mood as the remainder of the book.
If a reader can avoid reading the prologue, their knowledge of the book will suffer.
Do You Need A Prologue?
If anything occurred outside of the framework of your tale, it is critical to grasp it.
If you need to transmit information to the reader that cannot fit within the main narrative, a prologue may be necessary.
A prologue may also be required if the plot does not make sense without one.
A prologue is not required if you can omit it (or if the reader may skip it) and their understanding is not harmed.
Finally, if you can’t integrate the prologue’s content into the tale without mucking up the storyline, you’ll need a prologue.
If incorporating the prologue material into your tale feels awkward or confused, you may require one.
Types Of Prologues
Depending on the piece of writing, there are multiple different kinds of prologues that you can use.
This type of prologue shows us the primary character’s future self, maybe even their death, in order to put the plot of how they got to that point in action.
The prologue is written in the same point of view and style as the rest of the novel, although if you’re using the third person, the prologue frequently provides the ending of the tale first, with the journey to that point commencing in the first chapter.
Sometimes an important incident in your protagonist’s life is necessary for the reader to completely grasp them.
It’s often a catastrophic occurrence, such as a loss or tragedy.
This type of prologue allows us to discover what makes the protagonist tick by bringing to life a strong incident that will hook the reader in and make us empathize with the protagonist emotionally right from the start, and it’s effective whether written in the first or third person.
This style of prologue gives context for the world’s history and earlier events, such as a significant war or treachery.
These occurrences often occurred before the start of your tale and have a big influence on the events that follow.
These sorts of prologues can help stories set in a different period or location, and they are frequently utilized in historical or science fiction novels.
Different Point Of View
Some prologues may provide a different perspective than the rest of the novel.
These can be set in the past or the present, but they must include a different character’s point of view than the protagonist.
They frequently provide facts to the reader that the protagonist does not discover until later.
The Correct Length Of A Prologue
It is important not to make a prologue too long or too difficult for the reader to grasp, as the reader may become bored and abandon the narrative or poetry in the middle.
It is a writer’s obligation to link the reader with the account since there are so many poems and stories to read, and no one wants to read anything amateurish.
It should be as lengthy as you need it to be to get the background or information over that the reader needs to know for the tale to make sense.
However, it should be brief enough not to become a part of the tale – this is merely for background or introduction information, not to be a story inside a story.
A prologue is typically brief, and a poem has no more than one page of prologue.
Stories are often lengthier than poems, and the prologue of a narrative should not exceed two pages.
A novel’s prologue is somewhat lengthier since novels are quite long, and it is critical to properly introduce the tale to the reader; hence, it is two to three pages long.
There are certain stories in which the prologue provides an overview of the narrative’s universe in general and establishes the reason why this story will be fascinating, and the story itself is how the protagonists discover the problem and deal with it.
These sorts of prologues become chapters in their own right and can be many pages lengthy.
The length of the prologue is entirely up to the writer, however it is generally kept brief.
A prologue is typically one to three pages long, depending on the topic.
Essentially, you shouldn’t worry too much about the length of the prologue as no matter what length it is, if it serves your story and shows the reader why they should be excited to turn to the next page and continue with the story.