Thursday, September 13, 2007

Prologues Suck, No They Don't, Yes...Etc

An important thing every writer must learn is that you will never be able to please all readers. No matter what you do, somebody's gonna hate your literary baby. The more you try to write for everyone, the closer to mush your work is likely to get. Also, the more you write for everyone, the less you write for yourself. That's how you lose your soul. If you don't write for yourself and write what you love, then every single bit of adversity is going to remind you that you're writing something that doesn't sing for you and that you're compromising yourself.

I like reading prologues. I like the sense they give me of a story having a past as well as a now. Sometimes I write them, sometimes I don't. It depends on what I think the story needs. Done well prologues can convey an enormous amount of information about the story in a short entertaining format. They can set the stage. Done poorly, they're extraneous drivel. Write well. Write what you love. If that means prologues, go for it. If that means prologues are poisonous, skip it. To quote the old song, "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it."


Erik Buchanan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik Buchanan said...

Sorry, too many typos in the last comment.

I like prologues when the connect what has gone before with what is occurring.

In Cold Magics (the sequel to Small Magics) I'm using the prologue to give some information on what happened in the time between the stories, and some things that set up the next story.

Because it's only a few pages, and because that action takes place two months before the main story, I decided a prologue would be better than flashbacks or lengthy exposition.