SDWEG member and frequent presenter, Larry Edwards, shares his thoughts, and the thoughts of many others, on the appropriateness of prologues. Thanks, Larry, for sharing with us.
The Prologue Question: To P or not to P?
Should one choose to tread the primrose path to prologue, ’tis a dalliance I wish not to rede.*
As a judge for the San Diego Book Awards, I recently read about a dozen novels, some as published books, some as unpublished manuscripts. Most of them had prologues—and in every case of a book with a prologue I lowered the author’s score.
These so-called prologues either were not prologues, or they were unnecessary, or they could (should) have been Chapter 1, or they contained background information that could (should) have been disclosed later, in a context within the story that would have been more meaningful to the reader.
* rede, verb: to give counsel to : advise—as in Ophelia’s “primrose path” speech in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.