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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Prologues and Epilogues - Do You Like/Want Them?



I've often wondered if readers enjoy reading prologues and epilogues in romance books. As a reader, I like reading a prologue, especially if it sets up the story. Reading epilogues gives a future "look" into the hero and heroine's tale and takes me beyond the "Happily-Ever-After" ending so I can witness for myself just how their future unfolded.

I wrote one book using a prologue. When I first thought about writing "Streets of Dreams"(by Marianne Stephens), using a prologue popped into my head as the best way to gain reader interest right away. The prologue is in the killer's point of view, and I hoped it would capture a reader's immediate attention.



Epilogues. I've written them in my nonfiction books, but not in any romance books. Maybe I like finishing a fictional romance story so that no epilogue is needed...the reader can be fully satisfied just with my story's end?

But, I like reading both prologues and epilogues. I like that glimpse into the past and future. A prologue can eliminate some "backstory" insertions in the book so can be helpful to the writer. Epilogues can be helpful for those writing a series...an author can use this technique to hint at the next series book and inspire curiosity and interest. Or, for single titles, it can just give the reader a "little something extra" about what happens after that final chapter.

What do you prefer? Do you enjoy reading/writing Prologues? Epilogues? Both? Neither?

 


















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12 comments:

Jeanine said...

I agree I like prologues and epilogues too...

Tina Donahue said...

I don't usually use prologues unless the action begins years earlier than the main plot (for example, Lori's abduction in "In His Arms").

However, I have started using epilogues a lot. Fans kept telling me they wanted to know what happened next with the lovers. They were hungry for more.

Once I started adding epilogues, they were fully satisfied. :)

Judy Baker said...

I like both, but have only used an prologue once in 'Secret Past' in the 1933, but the story takes place in present time. It worked out great for the novel. I'd do it again, if I felt like it was needed.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Marianne: I don't use either; however, I do read them and sometimes think was the element needed?

Rose Anderson said...

I like them too. I think they add a bit more depth to a story. Sometimes the story is larger than the characters know.

jean hart stewart said...

I like reading them, but for some reason seldom think of using them. Probably should, as sometimes it would add to the story. Always something to think about...

Paris said...

I've used epilogues when the story ends at a point that wraps up all of the action but gives the reader a hint of where the lovers are headed. I used a prologue when the background on a pair of enchanted shoes needed to be set up because it happened decades before the following stories began. I think the use of either depends on the story.

Cara Marsi said...

As a reader, I prefer epilogues to prologues. I like to stay with the characters a little longer. I've only written one prologue. I've put in epilogues after many of my short stories and a few of my novels.

Melissa Keir said...

I think that both can be important to a story. I'm much more fond of the epilogues and use them often. They do give me a chance to show some extra, esp. a future look at the family or couple.

Sandy said...

Marianne, I have never thought of it. I like them and I use both. I was once told by an editor that if I use a prologue I have to have an epilogue to balance the other out.

R. Ann Siracusa said...

I believe prologues and epilogues should be used only when they are needed. In judging contests and book award entries, I've seen many that are backstory dumps that detract rather than add. Maybe that's why some readers say they never read them.
I like and read them, but use them sparingly in what I write.

Polly McCrillis said...

I've written one epilogue, no prologue. Generally I like reading a prologue IF it doesn't jump from twenty years to the present. Too much of a time gap for me. Years ago I read an interview with a NYT editor who said she didn't like reading prologues and thought an author who wrote them was lazy and made the readers fill in the blanks. Kind of harsh but I get what she meant. It's a challenge to write just enough of a back story to link past and present. A challenge I happen to love!

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