Of Prologues and Junk

Listening to: “Fly Away (Delinquent Mix)”–Taio Cruz

First of all, why is it that every time I leave a website for a long time, I come back and find that there have been changes that make it harder to use? And uglier. Poor WordPress. The UI used to work great. Now the first step is a piece of junk. Maybe I’m just weird, but having the blog control on the upper right is a pain. I read from left to right. All of the menu stuff in almost every program I use is left to right. Think about where the File Edit View line is in Firefox. Upper. Left. That’s where the dropdown WordPress menu used to be. I thought it had been removed until I happened to glance at the far end of my bookmarks toolbar.

But never mind that. It’s irritating, but it will probably just mean that I’ll update through an Android device instead of my PC.

Speaking of which, I’ve gotten incredibly nerdy lately. I have a smart phone, which I never thought would happen. I got a Samsung tablet not long ago, after giving the iPad2 a try. I like the iPad2’s dimensions and the presence of a physical home button, but in the end, it’s still iOS. And the Apple Store is horrifying. It’s like the bloodlust version of capitalism. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with capitalism. I just wish it didn’t have so many teeth.

More video games lately as well. The Lego franchise continues to annoy. I’ve found three bugs since I started playing Lego Pirates, all of them in the second film. One in co-op, and the other two at different points in the same level as a single player.

Wrote a prologue yesterday. Normally, I hate them, but this feels different. It’s too short to be a chapter, and it’s in first person. One of two definite perspectives. I stopped where it made sense to, which was about 450 words. If I’d gone on any longer in that POV, it would have been dragging on. But no one in their right mind would call that a chapter.

Actually, I can think of someone who would (read: did), but even he didn’t do that with the first chapter.

Maybe I could rebrand the prologue? It does the work of a first chapter. Sets up one of the main characters, begins establishing setting, which can only be completed by the second character, from a native view. And the fact that he doesn’t know his name makes it hard to continue.

I’m sure it’d be possible to keep writing and extend it. But should I have to? It doesn’t have any of the normal issues that prologues have.  This article has a handy list of things that make prologues unnecessary.

So, in the effort of point, counterpoint, I may find out that I don’t have a prologue and should just make it a bloody chapter. …Hmm. Blood.

  • Prologues can distract from the actual story by providing extraneous detail.

There is no extraneous detail. The nameless character finds himself shipwrecked on an unfamiliar beach, his arm pinned under debris. He shifts it off, and sits up, then realises that he is injured and missing a rather important detail about himself. In the first chapter, he is found by the second main character, who gives him a name and takes him to the village doctor.

  • Prologues usually include people, places, and things that are long irrelevant by the time the real story starts, like events from 1000 years ago that somehow still have great bearing on your characters today.

Nameless is relevant to the “real story”, rather immediately.

  • Prologues are often boring info dumps of historical info or worldbuilding that the author felt must be conveyed to the reader.

I don’t think it’s boring. And most of the world-building is, “He’s on a beach.”

  • Prologues are sometimes used by writers who aren’t ready to jump into the actual story, so they “warm up” in the prologue.

Fair point. But it could keep him from appearing like the boring, clichéd amnesiac when he’s found.

  • Prologues can delay the reader from meeting the protagonist (if the protag isn’t part of the prologue).

Nameless is one of the protagonists.

  • Prologues are sometimes tacked on to add a scene of suspense at the beginning of the novel, so the reader knows something scary will be happening later.

Nothing scary. This does sound like the lame Twilight prologue, though.

  • Many readers don’t like prologues and skim through them or skip over them, me included.

Arrogance aside, this is a crap reason for anything. I’m sure I’ve used it, but that just means I acted like a prat. You can say that about anything–“readers don’t like [blank].” Readers don’t like gay romance. Readers don’t like femmenazis. Readers don’t like illustrations in the format.

Yes they do. Some people fetish over things one does not like. But that’s a completely different rant. I’m not trying to defend my prologue here. I just want to understand why I hate them as much as many others.

Anywho, I’ve read elsewhere that a prologue should introduce the story. I think this thing does that.


One thought on “Of Prologues and Junk

  1. Pingback: So little time « Notebook Pages

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