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Prelude to a main story - Possible? : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Prelude to a main story - Possible?

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DawnAntalios
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Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby DawnAntalios » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:21 pm

Good day everyone!
I have been working on this little project of mine with this nice novel, but now I would like to ask your help.
As much as I do not like going back on my work and scrapping my entire story I did it several times already, either because I felt it to be too boring, too predictable, too mainstream ( by this I mean we have heard it already many times) or just simply did not make a cut. Recently however I wanted to connect a different, short story to the original one, which would be the herald of the menace, the impending doom that will linger on the story and would also provide a little side story, and introduction to not the main protagonist but rather to one of his "allies".
That being said I have never done things like this before, and books I read has a prelude of very few pages, mostly 3 or 4, which I feel would not be enough for this little side story to fully bloom. So my question is: is it an acceptable thing to attach a shorter story like this to the main event? Or should i keep it only for a sketch and try to integrate only the main events of this into a very short introduction which can be done in few pages?
Thank you for your answers!

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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby Crono91 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:38 pm

Surprisingly, more people I ask read prologues than I thought.

I don't read them. I skip them entirely. I figure everything I need to know should be IN the story. To me, a prologue is like those writers who begin chapter one with 3 pages of descriptions and "telling." Instead of getting rid of it, they move it over and call it a prologue.

Many authors write prologues. So they are fine. I think epilogues are better, because I'm already invested by the end (although, I still think it should just be a part of the ending).

Only time I thought the idea of a prologue sounded cool, was when an author hilarious re-printed his novel, and wrote a prologue for old readers to have something new to say, to which the beginning of his prologue went something like, "Yeah, I know no one reads these and hates them, but..." xD

I'm not sure what you mean by a short story, though. A prologue is a short story that sets up the story. I've seen prologues of varying lengths. I say just write it if you do, but when an agent asks for the first 50 pages, you don't include the prologue. Then once they accept you, ask if the prologue is a good idea for the market.

---

General rule, though. You NEED to write your story as if they haven't read the prologue--same with the epilogue. A prologue is a tool to ASSIST, not a require tool to understand.
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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby Oldtimer » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:44 pm

I must disagree with you, Crono. If an event in the distant past greatly influences the main story, then I believe that distant event should be mentioned before the main story begins. It's all too easy to say "weave it into the back story" but often there are already many threads that have to be woven in and, if this crucial event is brought to a reader's attention right at the start, it makes the subsequent story-telling easier to follow.

But to answer the OP's question, I don't think a complete short story would work well before the main part of the novel. Just my opinion.
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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby Crono91 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:26 pm

Be proud of your mistakes when they form from blinding passion. But now edit them.

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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby DawnAntalios » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:37 pm

Thank you for the replies!
By short story I meant that it is not just an empty vision with things happening in the background but rather having few ( not too many) characters having dialogues with each other and make certain decisions which will have have some impact in the future later in the story.
But your point might be true, as if the prologue is too long then people will just skip it entirely. I think I will try to make it not being too long but being semi informative instead.

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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby pls » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:53 pm

Preludes are musical pieces. Prologues are prose and probably should not be longer than a page; less is better when it comes to prologues.
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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby robjvargas » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:04 pm

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby DrG2 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:33 pm

The prologue IS a part of the story, or there is no need for it.

It's a prologue if it deals with something happening distantly in time or space from the main story.

Prologues are over-used in some genres, but that doesn't mean they can't be used. I've used them in spite of my aversion to them. The alternative to using a prologue is often to do a flashback, but flashbacks blow exactly as much as prologues do.

If you don't read them, you are assuming the writer is a nimrod who just wanted to waste your time with a prologue. Why would you choose to read a book from such an author?

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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby Crono91 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:56 pm

Be proud of your mistakes when they form from blinding passion. But now edit them.

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Re: Prelude to a main story - Possible?

Postby DrG2 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:04 pm

Hey Pot! Good to meet you!

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