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.
Have you ever written a prologue or epilogue for a book?
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
What is a prologue (and epilogue)? Examples and tips
Parts of a Novel: What is Foreword, Preface, Introduction, Prologue, and Epilogue?
Prologue & Epilogue