To Prologue or not to Prologue

Not sure it’s relevant to current points in the discussion, but Jordan wrote a book-length prologue to the whole series. Well, not exactly a prologue. It was a prequel, and he wrote it late in the game (ten books in). But if he’d written it at the outset, it could have qualified as a book-length prologue. Or not.

His publisher did release promo excerpts of books ahead of publication, calling them “prologues.”


I was just reading Chuck Wendig’s blog, where he talks about “Five Common Problems I See In Your Stories.” Seems germane, even though it’s merely general advice. It’s worth a read while keeping Floss’s specific criticisms in mind. … r-stories/

I also agree with Ahab (and Chuck in the above article); too many words are producing too little story. Just cutting some will improve your chapter, and by cutting the fat, you may find more room to sprinkle in back-story as needed, instead of all at once in a prologue.

To give you a more concrete example of how cutting words might help, I’ve marked up one of your paragraphs. I underlined what I feel can be cut, since the strikethrough tags aren’t implemented on these boards. Where I add words, I’ll {put curly brackets around them.} Mind you, this is only my inexpert opinion–consider my advice only where it overlaps that of people (or cats) who know their craft.

Like the Chuck Wendig stuff.

By the way, cutting any word ending in -ly is probably a good principle (except, OK, only).

Wow. Some great advice.
Jaysen, Floss I won’t be rolling the dice (intentionally anyway). I’m not arrogant enough to feel that I might be an exceptional writer that could defy the norm. Being a writer in itself would be exceptional so I don’t need to narrow my chances any further than I have to.
Robert - I loved the blog you linked. Very good advice, right up my street and especially thank you for the examples.
Hugh, I also think I read somewhere about avoiding adverb overuse. Obviously I didn’t take it on.

I think I know what I need to do and where I need the book to start now. I want to finish the stage I’m on with the edit and then go back to the beginning and put all your advice into practice. So it will be a couple of weeks, but then I’ll repost the new version of the opening chapter and see if I’ve managed to execute my learning.

I want to get on with it now, but I can’t leave my current stage unfinished, so I’ll hold myself back. Grrr. I need to take some time off work so I can do this instead!

I took Floss’s point to mean that you don’t need to be exceptional, you just need to find an Editor that wants to sleep with you.

That’s how I read the advice so that’s how I’m going to proceed!

Any port in a storm!

Hey, someone has to be this generations verbose wunderkind!! We need Dickens-esq wordsmithing every now and again!! :laughing: Full disclosure… I’ve been known to be wordy upon occasion as well.

As for the work itself, I liked what I saw and would love to know more about the premise and the direction you are taking it. I don’t think it needs a prolog, the first chapter stands alone in my opinion.

I came here looking for help on how to compile a Prologue in Scrivener.

Much to my surprise, none of this is about Scrivener AT ALL.

What the heck?

@drmajorbob: I highly recommend that you run, screaming if you must.

You’re in Writing\Scrivenings. Looking at the description of these forums might be instructive.

So sorry, you must be looking for the HOW TO Prologue thread. This is the WHETHER TO Prologue thread. :wink: