How do you know when a story needs one or both?
My current work in progress (WIP) has a short introduction (prologue.) So, I thought doing a little research on the subject might be in order. After all, I do want the reader to read past the first couple of pages. Right?
Here’s what I learned about the two.
- A writer can use both to bookend a novel or use just one.
- A prologue is where you can introduce something important to the story.
- An epilogue is the cherry on top. The ending after the ending.
What I learned about a prologue.
A prologue should include one or all the three elements.
- Setting/fictional world and how the character came to be there.
- Set the stage with a frame of reference for the reader.
- An event key to the story and a character’s response.
- Describe with action and suspense, not just adjectives.
- Perfect place to let the event introduce a theme.
- Create intrigue.
- Set up the reader to keep reading.
My WIP prologue includes #2 & 3.
I’ve not given much thought to epilogues before today. Although, I do enjoy reading a good one that wraps up a story. Especially a book that kept me on edge from beginning to end. A good epilogue relieves tension and enables me to tie all the dangling pieces together in one big knot.
What I learned about writing an epilogue.
- Wrap everything up into “happily ever after.”
- An epilogue can be used to hint or introduce a sequel.
- A place for the characters to reflect on the story.
- Show growth and change in a character.
Want to know more? Then drop to the end and click on a few terrific links.
Do you plan on writing either for your WIP?
Do you like reading either in books?
Or, do you think books are better without either one?
What did I forget?
Talk to me in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Framing the Novel: The Prologue and the Epilogue By Reba White Williams