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Turning a prologue into chapters : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Turning a prologue into chapters

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
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taeray
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Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby taeray » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:58 pm

So, I am brand new to this forum and I have a question about prologues. I have been looking for a forum to interact with other creative thinkers and found this place through Agent Query. I've currently got two novels complete and one nearly complete.

When I started researching writing my query letter, I found my word count was too long on my first novel so I've been paring down everywhere I could. My biggest problem became what I considered "the prologue". It's not really a prologue, no matter how much I hack away at it. It's way too long and is still three times the length of a chapter. It won't work as a prologue, but I'm not sure it works as Chapter One either since the rest of the book is about a different set of characters. The "Prologue" sets the scene for the situation the main characters are in and alludes to mysteries voiced throughout the series. The characters in it are also referenced in book one and book two. I am struggling with figuring out what I should do with it. My beta readers have come back and feel that it's too important to cut out completely and I've already woven quite a bit throughout the main storyline. I'm worried about trying to weave in too much more and there being a confusing, information overload.

Any thoughts or suggestions? If I turn it into Chapters one through three, then Chapter four would open with new characters. The end of Chapter Three (or currently the prologue) does close very neatly so I don't think it would leave too much confusion. I'm just not sure I can get away with it.
Last edited by taeray on Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby DrG2 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:25 pm

Obviously I can't judge whether you need the material or not, as I haven't read it.

You can break the novel into parts, and part one can be your three chapter "prologue". If the parts are long enough, you can even call them "books" within your novel.

In East of Eden, Steinbeck broke the novel up into "parts".

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onceuponwednesday
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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby onceuponwednesday » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:31 pm

Oh, Taeray -- prologues be fightin' words in these parts. Yer gonna whip up a hurt that no amount o' sassafras can cool down.

Sorry, no idea what I was saying there.

Hi. Good question. I know exactly what spot you're in. If I pulled the "Previously on ..." out of the middle of my novels it would take up about forty pages.

There's always fun ways to include a prologue, I'm sure you've been playing with many of them. Have you thought about having one of your characters tell a stories that include much of the details? I've seen this done really well (also of course, really badly). If the story is compelling no one will care. It will be like having the prologue in the middle, closer to the time when those details are actually pertinent.

Good luck!
The Rule of Three

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taeray
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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby taeray » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:32 pm


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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby taeray » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:38 pm


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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby tom9 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:28 am

taeray, no opinion on the subject, but I might suggest the moderators create a permanent topic for the FAQs subforum titled:



...into which all such questions be posted.

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taeray
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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby taeray » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:41 am


James A. Ritchie
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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:01 am

Most dictionaries have a poor definition of "prologue". The past is prologue, the future is epilogue. But, look, very good writers use prologues on a regular basis. Many, many, many famous novels contain prologues. If you want to use one, then use it. But it can't be that long. And it must be a true prologue, when means it takes place well before the current story begins, but sets the groundwork for why the current story happens.

From my experience, just about the only way to deal with this is to throw away the "prologue", and work any necessary information from the "prologue" into the novel a little at a time, as needed.

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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby taeray » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:46 am


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Re: Turning a prologue into chapters

Postby pls » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:28 pm

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