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July 22, 2011

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Melissa

Thanks, Donna, for the excellent examples of what a prologue can do. I'm always looking for that rule of thumb for whether a prologue is necessary -- because I am a prologue happy writer! lol -- but there probably isn't one particular rule. This comes close though.

I love the idea that a good prologue can show a character through another character. Sometimes though, while thinking this is what I'm doing when I start out with characters who are not the main characters, I get tangled in a lot of details. I defend the prologue with "this information is necessary later." But keeping that MAIN character in mind is key. If I can create the curiosity your examples do, then maybe I'll have a leg to stand on for my "you'll get it later" argument. LOL Hopefully, instead, it will be "you'll WANT to find out." :)

Donna Cummings

Melissa, I'm glad you liked them! I think I've gotten away from using prologues, because I've found that the info CAN be used more effectively elsewhere. Sometimes it's a good idea to write the prologue, just to see if it's necessary, and then to see what info can be woven in throughout the story. And maybe it can't.

For example, in the one with Sam -- he could think later about when he was younger and his lunchbox was empty, but it wouldn't have the same impact. Or if he told someone about how he'd helped a bully, he would sound kinda self-absorbed. LOL Sometimes the info in the prologue has to be SHOWN in order for it to make the story work.

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