This month’s topic is prologues and epilogues: yes or no, and can you have one without the other — or, more properly, should you have either or both.
I have never written either a prologue or an epilogue — at least, I’ve never published a book with a part so-labelled, so I decided to check out my stack of library books :
First one: The Secret Game, a non-fiction book about a basketball game held during World War II. This book has both a prologue and an epilogue. Yes, I read both, but, then, history is not my thing, and I figured I could use all the help I could get.
Book two: Latest novel by Danielle Steel. No prologue, no epilogue.
Book Three: Oldie but Goodie by Elizabeth Cadell, one of my favorite writers: ditto — no prologue, no epilogue.
Book four: Mystery set in Victorian London, first of a series: Prologue but no epilogue. Yes, I did read the prologue.
Book five: An oldish novel by author Ann Hood: again, prologue but no epilogue. I haven’t read this one yet, but when I do, I’m sure I’ll read the prologue. I don’t skip beginnings, nor do I skip endings. Middles, now – -I might skip some there if the book is slow, but I aim to give everything I read a fair chance at the start.
I don’t skip beginnings, nor do I skip endings. Middles, now – -I might skip some there if the book is slow, but I aim to give everything I read a fair chance at the start, so I always read the prologue and first few chapters, even if decide not to read the rest of the book. And I might very well read the last chapter and the epilogue if I’m interested in how the plot turned out.
So how close have I come to writing either one in one of my novels? Not so close. I briefly considered a prologue for Broken Bonds, but it turned into a 5000 word first chapter. I also considered — again, briefly — labelling the final, short, chapter of Rob’s Rebellion as an epilogue, but, again, decided against it. Why? Simply because they have a bad reputation. Ah, well. Clearly not everyone feels the same.
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