On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Prologues 1

Prologues should be included for only two reasons. A huge incident in the past of the hero or heroine (occasionally the villain) is shown instead of included in exposition, dialogue or flashback (a flashback always STOPS the forward motion of a story) OR something is going on (set up wise) that the reader should know about but the protagonist doesn't.

The key to the Prologue is KEEP IT AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE, definitely under, say, ten pages. Some people will skip prologues. Truly. They will read to a point in the story where they don't know what is going on and may go back. Some might not even pick the book up.

I recently bought some Christina Dodd books. I read the one with the concept VERY like Linda Howard's White Lies (except it was set during the Crimean War) and enjoyed it very much (and no, I'm not going to mess around trying to recall the title of the book because I am writing this before the new day job and I have a scene of my own burning in my brain and I need to iron my pants, too).

After finishing the first book, I turned to another -- which had a prologue, as did two others. I stood there stymied. I always read prologues, but didn't feel like reading a prologue before getting into a book (I now regret that little "poem" I put at the top of Guardian of Honor).

That was last week. I've re-read other books since.

Prologues tend to be wrenching in some way, and I am needing comfort reads.

So, that's it today for prologues. This dialogue goes on in writerly circles, but if you MUST have one, do it.

May your hooks be excellent today.


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