This weeks topic is ‘Prologues and Epilogues. Yes or no?’
I have not included either a prologue or an epilogue in any of the books to date. As I only have two full length novels, that doesn’t necessarily mean I never will, but merely that this concept wasn’t useful to me for either of Through the Nethergate or A Ghost and His Gold.
Literary terms describes a prologue as “Some works of literature start with a prologue (pronounced PRO-log), a short introductory section that gives background information or sets the stage for the story to come. The prologue is usually pretty short, maybe a few pages . But it may be the most important section of the story, and if readers skip it they may be lost for the entire story.”
I had a look at a list of the top 12 novels with prologues that worked and I haven’t read any of them. The only prologue I can distinctly remember was the one in the musical production of War of the Worlds which goes like this:
“No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own. That as men busied themselves about their various concerns, they observed and studied, the way a man with a microscope might observe the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency, men went to and fro about the globe, confident of our empire over this world. Yet across the gulf of space, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded our planet with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, drew their plans against us.”
I think this prologue definitely worked! Of course, I do admit to loving this book [not the film], so maybe that is why I love this prologue.
Literary terms describes and epilogue as “an optional final chapter of a story, such as in a play or book, and which may serve a variety of purposes—concluding or bringing closure to events, wrapping up loose ends, reporting the eventual fates of characters after the main story, commenting on the events that have unfolded, and or setting up a sequel. It can appear as a speech (especially in a play), a series of scenes, or an essay by the narrator.”
I had more luck thinking of a series which ended with an epilogue – Harry Potter. I remember it because I didn’t feel the epilogue added value to the series and I would have preferred to have drawn my own conclusions about the futures of the characters. In fact, I found the epilogue quite annoying.
In conclusion, maybe my thoughts are quite simple” “maybe a prologue, but never an epilogue.”
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