What Is a Prologue? Understand What It Is & How You Write One
Want to become an art writer and gain the attention of your audience?
Then you should follow some good writing techniques and master them to have your mark in everything you do.
One of the easiest ways to gain readers' and viewers' attention is by adding a short prologue of your content which can add a lot of value to your script.
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What is a prologue?
A prologue introduces the book, story, and characters involved in it at the beginning of your book. It comes at the starting of your book after tech information, acknowledgment, etc., before your first paragraph.
The primary purpose is to set a stage for the audience about essential elements of the story, such as backdrops and a glimpse into the story's future.
What is the difference between a prologue & a preface, foreword, or introduction?
A preface is produced from the author's perspective, but not from the characters or storyteller's point of view. It discusses the book's roots, progress, impact, goals, and acknowledgments of others who played a huge role in this process.
Prefaces are most commonly found in nonfiction publications, but they can also be found in fiction.
A foreword is composed not by the author himself but by other third parties, such as a reviewer, specialist, or other public person or critics.
Forewords usually introduces a book to readers by relating its substance or ideas with their own experiences, and this is used used in both fiction and nonfiction.
An introduction is presented from the author's perspective and includes extra details to assist in understanding the book's subject, such as the historical background. They are primarily used in factual publications.
Why write a prologue?
Help set the tone
The prologue sets the atmosphere and tone for the story that falls after this. These elements add to the brief about the story. This involves talking about the background, flashbacks, etc., of the story that will be narrated; it gives the audience hints about what to expect.
Strengthens your worldbuilding
This works well with novels with themes like fantasy, science fiction, or historical fiction. Because the setting is such an essential component for these genres, a prologue may be a fun way to introduce readers to it. One can create an engaging transition for readers from reality to this imaginary life by using some generally recognized elements of the world and highlighting them with a preview scene.
Creates intrigue from the outset
Prologue draws readers into your novel. People genuinely interested in the adventure would want to know how the story reached this point and what will come next. A prologue can spark the readers' curiosity and draw them in by establishing suspense right away.
3 famous examples of a prologue
1. The Terminator
“Los Angeles, 2029: The machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire. Their war to exterminate mankind had raged for decades, but the final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our present. Tonight…”
This movie starts with an enthralling prologue that showcases the future world and enlightens the aus=dience about the movie’s context - war between humans and machines and time travel.
2. Star Wars
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....”
It sets up the tone and indicates that the movie has something related to the galaxy.
3. Into the Woods
“Once upon a time
In a far-off kingdom
There lay a small village
At the edge of the woods”
This prologue indicates the struggle and issues that characters are facing to the audience.
How to write a prologue like a pro
Introduce the main character(s)
Introduce the main characters as they can be the ones who lead the story and their actions narrate or build the entire story.
Only add relevant information
A prologue really shouldn't be an "information dump": instead of explaining your story, it should enrich it. The easiest way to figure out what to put in a prologue is to think about what the reader needs to know before diving into the main story.
Leave small hints
Prologues are frequently used in detective novels and mysteries to tease out characters, settings, and the enigma to come. A prologue may be placed centuries or thousands of miles away from the rest of the book and appear completely irrelevant; nonetheless, it will eventually weave back into the original plot.
Set up a different time frame or location
You can use a different timeline or place in the prologue (or both). You can provide essential background knowledge to your actors or plot by using a distinct timescale. You can use a distinctive backdrop to draw attention to the story's central premise.
Pros & cons of writing a prologue
- Makes the story less perplexing
- Turns plot thrilling.
- Constructs the Tone
- Slows the story down.
- This results in an abrupt transition from the prologue to the main plot.
- Information Deluge
Learn how to write a killer script
Now you've read about the prologue, its benefits, and ways to use it; you are ready to use it.
The prologue sets the tone, backdrop of your story. You should build a good one as the entire impression of your work depends on it.
Don't know where to start? Learn how to write a killer script.
What is a prologue?
A prologue is an introduction of the book, story, and characters involved in it at the beginning of your book.
What is the purpose of a prologue?
They provide the readers and viewers with an introduction to the story that will unfold. It could foreshadow the conflict or might even provide a little back story.
What are some examples of a prologue in books
You can find prologues in books like Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Radiance by Catherynne Valente, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, etc.
What are some examples of a prologue in movies
You can find prologue in movies like Star Wars, The terminator and Into the woods.