A prologue is a scene or event that occurs prior to the point in which the book begins. This section is most often found in fiction. As a rule of thumb, if you have a prologue, you should also have an epilogue.
The prologue should set the stage as it were. It provides information that helps the reader understand the following book. It can be written in character or as a direct address to the reader.
A prologue could:
- Provide the backstory to the events in the book. These might include historical events or dramatic moments that caused or influenced later actions.
- Intrigue the reader so that he or she continues reading. Consider how to make the information in the prologue arouse the interest of the reader. Can you make it suspenseful or mysterious? Does it trigger strong emotions? Do the characters find themselves in desperate situations in need of resolution?
- Be told from a completely different point of view. Perhaps the villain imparts some useful information in the prologue while the main story is told through the eyes of the heroine.
Keep it short! A page or two at most should be enough. The idea is to pique a reader’s interest, not reveal information that is contained later in the book.
Assignment: If you plan to include this section, write your prologue.