It is where you start and where you finish

Hey there,

Blog buddies! Can I ask you a question about books?

Great! Thanks.

It’s about prologues and epilogues and, really, it’s just this:

Prologues and epilogues – yes or no?

I’ve heard and read much criticism, particularly of prologues – that they are forgotten by the time they become important to the story, that they jar with the first chapter because the reader is whipped from one thing to something completely unrelated or that they are used as an information dump to support a weak beginning. Similarly, epilogues are criticised for being a way to tie up loose ends that the writer wasn’t able to do in the main body of the story or are used because the writer doesn’t know how to stop.

It sounds, then, like they don’t have much going for them. But that’s not the fault of prologues or epilogues, just prologues or epilogues that are not used well, and that’s not the same thing.

The reason I ask is that I don’t have anything against them. I would go so far as to say I actually like them.  Prologues can add a bit of intrigue and, if well done, you can see the point of them emerging as you go along. Or they can be useful for orientation. In the case of epilogues, I like to get a bit of information about what happens “after”. If I have a gripe about a book, one of the things it might be is that it finished too abruptly. I appreciate this is in an attempt to “finish when the story’s over” which is the right thing to do but, sometimes, I feel like someone took my plate away before I finished the last mouthful of my lunch.

This could be debated at some length, I know, but I was really just wondering:

Prologues and epilogues – yes or no? What say you?

Thanks!

Elle 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

 

3 thoughts on “It is where you start and where you finish

  1. As you say, Elle, they can work if used in the correct way, and for the right reasons. They should be short, in my view, and offer the reader something that Chapter One and Chapter Final are unable to, perhaps because they are independent of the characters. (That, of course, is simply my opinion!)

    For our first novel, the prologue was a poem which set the scene many moons before our characters appeared. The epilogue was also something our characters could (and should) have no knowledge of, yet was still crucial to the book and its sequels. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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