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Writer Asks: Should I submit the prologue?

Leonicka Valcius: Writer Asks: Should I submit the prologue?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Writer Asks: Should I submit the prologue?

If the submission guidelines ask for a query letter plus the first x pages should I submit the prologue or skip to the first chapter?

If your prologue is not compelling or relevant enough to be the first thing an agent reads, you need to re-evaluate having a prologue at all. Whereas an agent or editor may read a query, a pitch, and maybe a synopsis before they read your manuscript, a reader is likely to dive into your book after merely glancing at the cover copy. Is your prologue good enough to keep that reader’s attention? If not, it has no business being in the book. 

Prologues are a completely legitimate literary device and I would not dissuade anyone from using them. Just do it effectively.  An effective prologue should set the tone of the book. It should contribute to the world-building and/or the character development. It should be essential to the plot, perhaps in a subtle way that the readers and characters will find out about later. It should not be something you are willing to leave out.

Do you write prologues? Why or why not?

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