What is a Prologue and do you need one?

What is a Prologue and do you need one?

One of the things that you will sometimes see in books is a prologue. But what exactly is this chapter and do you need one? That’s a question that many new authors ask, particularly those who are self-publishing and have to make decisions like that themselves. In this article, we’ll go over exactly what the definition of a prologue is and what things must be included in it, or be true about it, to make it an actual prologue. This way, you do not get it confused with another part of the front matter, which can make your book seem unprofessional to readers in the know. Let’s start with what a prologue actually is.

What is a Prologue?

A prologue is a chapter of a fiction book that is separate from the rest of the story. The prologue usually tells a very different part of the story, and it is often set previous to the actual story that begins on chapter one in the books timeline. The prologue might be written from the perspective of the main character, but it is usually not. In fact, the prologue is sometimes even written from a third-person omniscient point-of-view. It is also sometimes written from the point-of-view of a character that never appears again in the story – or appears much later.

Why Do You Need a Prologue?

There are several reasons that an author might need a prologue. For example, if you are writing a fantasy novel about a teen that goes on a quest to find some kind of magical object, you might include a prologue chapter about how the object was created, how it became hidden, or what happened last time the object was in the wrong hands. The prologue will let you tell that story. However, don’t just include one because you think you have to. The prologue should be vital to the story.

The Facts about Prologues

There are some good reasons to add a prologue, but there are also some reasons that make a prologue a bad idea or unnecessary. For example, if you are creating a prologue just to show off how much you know about your world, you may bore your readers before the story even begins. In addition, if you have an introduction to the story by the author, such as info on where the idea came from or how you created your world and plot, you should put that in an introduction or preface instead.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to publishing fiction, the prologue can be a really great tool that helps you introduce a part of your story that wouldn’t fit in your regular chapters. A prologue can be separate from the rest of the book and allow the reader to get the information they need to start reading. Just make sure that you are putting the prologue in for the right reasons and not just including one for the sake of having it.