Author Topic: Does a prologue need an epilogue?  (Read 7184 times)

Offline Journey

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Re: Does a prologue need an epilogue?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2011, 07:44:20 AM »
More and more I am leaning towards chucking the prologue. Everything in my prologue is also in my book. All my prologue does is set up the reader for what the book is about and why do I want to give away all that information in the prologue when the meat and potatoes is in the novel itself, complete with action, history and conflict? Thanks Wolfe for setting me straight. Now I need to rework those first two chapters, they are so much weaker than the last two.

As for the ice sheets, because the novel I wrote is historical fiction I had to work many factual events such as, Warsaw ghetto uprising, concentration camps, news reports, speeches etc. As Matt said, I did it mostly through dialogue. The news reports and speeches were introduced through a hidden radio which the MC's huddled around. I tried my best to build the facts into the story so they wouldn't be standalone boring information.
Writing takes me to places and times that Air Miles doesn't cover.

Offline Boshman

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Re: Does a prologue need an epilogue?
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2011, 04:27:26 PM »
Good suggestions - thanks!

Wolfe

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Re: Does a prologue need an epilogue?
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2011, 11:23:30 PM »
Great thread, as most are here.

I am currently in the process of writing a thriller / action story that has a factual element to it. It takes the details of how ice sheets are formed and wear away / break off, which is all factual. Without the reader knowing about this, the story wouldn't really make sense, or would at least be hard to understand.

So, being that ideally we need to show, not tell, my plan had been to have a two - three page prologue showing just the facts about how ice sheets are formed and the pressures generated etc. as otherwise to try to include that within the actual story would seem awkward. The only other way I could see of including it within the story would be to have someone explaining all about it to another, which would obviously be telling.

So would this be background or set-up?  My view is it's background and needed, but I am likely wrong, so would welcome your thoughts and ideas.

Suggestions please?

Thanks

Boshman

Don't. That's called 'showing your research' and is a huge misstep. Your job, as an author, is to find a way within the story to make this information accessible and exciting to the reader. If you need to explain a point, in such a direct manner, it's not going to work.

It'll read more like a textbook than a thriller. And you can believe me when I tell you, that's death for a fiction writer.

Offline Boshman

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Re: Does a prologue need an epilogue?
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2011, 11:32:23 PM »
Thanks Wolfe - good advice!

Offline SpeedyG

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Re: Does a prologue need an epilogue?
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2011, 01:58:04 AM »
I'm certainly no expert here but I have read via numerous 'writing your first novel books' and related internet sites that some publishers and/or agents whom you may wish to submit your manuscript to may, in fact, be turned off by the whole prologue / epilogue presentation.

Some have directly suggested just making your prologue chapter - chapter one and if you have an epilogue; make it the last chapter.
A few have even inferred that a person may not even give the manuscript a chance based upon this.

Again, I am no expert, it'sjust what I have read in the past which may or may not be accurate.