For those who don’t know, a prologue is a bit, generally shorter than a chapter, which almost introduces the novel. It’s kind of like the bit before the titles in a TV show. I quite like them… but only if they work with the story. So, what are some tips for them?
- Make sure it adds, somehow, to your story. If it gives a back story to your antagonist that the reader doesn’t get until the final chapter, it still counts. If it gives a back story to your character’s great aunt Meredith who isn’t mentioned in the rest of it, then don’t. (Okay I’m exaggerating here, but make sure that the prologue does link up to the story.)
- Decide what you want it for. Is it to set up your protagonist, antagonist, the world in which they live? Decide exactly what you want it for, and then make sure you relate it as much as possible to that, so that the reader can get the best experience and you can do exactly what you want to with your writing.
- Don’t make it extraordinarily long. It’s not the first chapter. It’s the prologue. It’s designed to give the reader some extra information which will hopefully come into use later, not start the fully-fledged story.
Personally, I enjoy prologues. Whether you do or not in general is up to you, but if you think it could benefit your story, don’t shy away from it!