Prologues and epilogues: a good idea?
Prologue and Epilogue. Do they have a use? Should they be used? Can you have one without the other?
What an interesting topic and one I hadn’t really thought about since neither is a permanent part of my writer’s toolbox. I have used the prologue twice, in both instances when only a short blurb was necessary to set the rest of the book.
In T’s Trial, I needed to show the hero’s depravity and ego in order for his redemption to be all the more worthy. In Wedding Belle Blues, I needed an intro to the five part book set-up and to give it a fairy tale entry, a ‘once upon a time’ lead-in that, of course, totally falls apart before the first chapter is ended!
I’ve used an epilogue only once in order to tie up all the loose ends of One Year Past Perfect. I needed to skip time, which seems to be a main purpose of epilogues, to show the Happily Ever After for all the parties concerned.
Can you have one without the other? Well, I obviously think so.
The only time I get a bit sideways with prologues is when they give us a terrific hero/heroine in distress moment and then—wham!—take it away from us by going back a day or two. Or a year. Yes, it grabs my attention. Sometimes, it holds it. Not guaranteed. Now this happens a lot in episodic TV also, when you think you must have missed an episode because you don’t remember the characters having been left dangling from a rope over a canyon with a train about to cross the bridge they’re affixed to. Then, it says, ’24 hours earlier.’ I can handle that transgression a bit better. And, of course, being TV, it’s over in an hour, not 300 pages later.
Please check out the other participants in this blog tour, all answering the question of prologues and epilogues.
Dr. Bob Rich
Rachael Kosinski Rhobin Courtright