I have written a prologue for novel two
but have yet to actually attach it to the body of the work. My hesitation at actually beginning the book with a prologue is a matter of, “they all say not to.” I have heard numerous speakers on the subject—though it is never tackled as a subject in and of itself. It is usually tucked into a larger speech on fiction writing, if said speaker is an author, or on selling fiction, if speaker is an editor or agent. It makes its appearance under things to avoid. No publisher, I am told, will ever publish a book with a prologue because they, and so their readers, hate them.
I Googled prologues and found at least a dozen expounding on using and, most often, not using a prologue. I also found quite a few sites listing “Famous Prologues” and even a book for sale listing them. I suspect that book was written by a frustrated prologue writer, but I have no proof. One blogger suggested the most famous prologue is the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities, a bit of a stretch since there is no prologue in that wonderful book. Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books by Francis Bacon et al. is a free book that I have yet to consult as is the Harvard Classics Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books by Charles William Eliot. Both give me pause as they were written in previous centuries – like the seventeenth!
Does this mean the prologue is dead? I think not. In fact, the last two books I read, the book I am reading now, and one of the books on my to read list have prologues. They are all, however, by established writers so maybe that’s the catch. If I sell the first novel, may I have a prologue in the second? Unsure.
I like my prologue and am leaning toward using it, even though it might be frowned upon. After all, Tis far nobler!