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Took out Prologue


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#1 Caterina

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 01:27 AM

Hey guys, I need your opinion on something.

I decided to take out the prologue of my ms because it was kind of useless. I think folks should find out through the story what's going on, not from the get go. Here's the thing, my book is written in first and third POV. But the first 5 chapters are in the first POV, then it finally shifts third. Is that too much of a shock to the reader?

Throughout the rest of the book, you get a good mix of both characters. Before the prologue was in third POV, so it gave it a bit of a intro into my other main character. I'm a little lost if I'm making things worse for taking out the prologue.

Advice?

#2 Kristina

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:57 AM

If your prologue doesn't have any sort of purpose, then it's totally okay you took it out.
It's also okay if you have both first and third POV if you know how to do it. And by that I mean - don't write in third POV beside the first if you don't have two MCs. If the information you provide in the other POV are not important, then delete it and don't turn back. If you worry about shocking a reader, try to put that third POV earlier in the story.
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#3 Caterina

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:24 PM

If your prologue doesn't have any sort of purpose, then it's totally okay you took it out.
It's also okay if you have both first and third POV if you know how to do it. And by that I mean - don't write in third POV beside the first if you don't have two MCs. If the information you provide in the other POV are not important, then delete it and don't turn back. If you worry about shocking a reader, try to put that third POV earlier in the story.


Thanks for helping me with this problem, I really appreciate it!

My two main characters are in first and third, so he needs to stay. I can't put the other mc in earlier because when he is introduced in the story, he speaks with the bad guy. The first five chapters are my other mc (first POV) trying to figure out what's been going on (zombie outbreak) and escaping with her boyfriend. (the third POV is the president).

I'm hoping I am not shocking the reader too much, but it makes sense he is introduced later anyways since he speaks with the bad guy in question, and we get to see the first mc struggle with the virus outbreak.

UGH!

#4 Robin Breyer

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:57 PM

I can see where switching between 1st and 3rd could be an issue. Most books stick to just one.

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#5 Caterina

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:07 PM

Per the advice of my editor, I am keeping the prologue in the story. Thanks for the help nonetheless!

#6 Stumped

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 04:43 PM

Hey guys, I need your opinion on something.

I decided to take out the prologue of my ms because it was kind of useless. I think folks should find out through the story what's going on, not from the get go. Here's the thing, my book is written in first and third POV. But the first 5 chapters are in the first POV, then it finally shifts third. Is that too much of a shock to the reader?

Throughout the rest of the book, you get a good mix of both characters. Before the prologue was in third POV, so it gave it a bit of a intro into my other main character. I'm a little lost if I'm making things worse for taking out the prologue.

Advice?


There are authors who use both 1st person and 3rd person in their books. In these cases, usually the main protagonist is written in first, while PoV's from the other characters are written as third.

If the character the first 5 chapters follows the view of continues on into the rest of the book then I personally think you should keep writing that character's scenes in 1st person. But its okay to write in third if your following the story of a different character.


As for the prologue, without knowing what happens in the scene compared to the story afterwards I can't really say much. The first scene in the prologue of my manuscript is about 3 characters that don't actually feature in the main story, but what happens to them works as a great hook and starts off the main plot with a kickstart. Then I jump to a scene involving the main protagonist and how her story arc starts before ending the prologue. (note, overall plot and the main character's story are two different things).

If your prologue has something to do with the story thats happening in the background then it might be more useful than you originally thought.

#7 RinguGirl

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:20 PM

Just as a word of advice - agents as a general rule don't like prologues. Especially if the prologues:

1. Start in a scene that happens midway through the book + 1st few chapters become the flashback

2. are set in the past with characters that do not show up in the first few chapters until much later in the book

3. are just a big source of infodump

If your prologue is none of these things, then you should be okay. Agents tend to be more accepting of prologues only if the novel is a thriller / crime mystery / SOME scifi.

As for the first person / third person, why not split the book into sections? Before the 3rd person POV starts, have a blank page that only says "CHARACTER NAME #2" or something, so the readers are aware a shift is going to happen. Then say "CHARACTER #1" for the 1st person POV too, and so on.

#8 Tom Bradley

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:12 PM

I gave one of my early mss a prologuectomy and it was better for it.
But if you want to keep it, why not just make it a full-on chapter?

#9 TyUnglebower

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:32 PM

I am in limbo with the prologue of my own novel right now. (Currently on the third draft.) It started out life as a flashback in the middle of the piece. (Despite the conventional wisdom, I don't mind a flashback as either a writer or a reader. But I prefer there to be only one per novel, with highly significant information to reveal.)

But as I read through it I thought the flashback slowed things down a bit. So I reworked it and made the recalled moments part of a prologue instead. Though point of fact, I never called it a prologue. I labelled it as chapter one, even though it takes place many years before the rest of the novel. It isn't mere pipe-laying, and I feel it does serve a purpose. Yet I still stand on the brink of getting rid of the entire thing.

I enjoy reading prologues, to tell you the truth. There has to be a limit, of course, and many prologues surpass that limit shamelessly. But since every story is really only the result of dozens of other previous or concurrent stories, I never minded a simple peak at a tale's progenitor. You always have that bit of something extra as you move forward. With a good prologue that is.

So in the end, if you don't feel a reader will take that little extra flavoring with them from the prologue into the novel proper, go ahead and cut it. (Though, given that your editor said to keep it, it's all a moot point now anyhow.)

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#10 Robin Breyer

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:05 PM

Funny how we are having this conversation just as I am working on a new book. I have a space trader accused of piracy and I am planning a prologue from the point of view of the crew of the ship that was attacked. The scene I am planning would be an info dump if included later and it really isn't a chapter in its own right. I find it funny that the last time I wrote about pirates I did a prologue as well.

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