Here is my first Q & A post! This one comes from Benjamin out of California. Benjamin asks: “Christa, how do you decide whether or not to keep a prologue?”
A: I actually had this issue in one of my books. I’d written a historical background for a character and it ended up being almost 30 pages long! The background was necessary for the storyline, but when I had someone read the prologue and then the novel, they told me the prologue weighed down the story. So I decided to interweave the prologue as individual scenes throughout the book. It was a time-consuming process, but resulted in accent sections inside the book that paralleled the two main storylines–thus keeping the content without sacrificing fluidity.
So my overall suggestion is as follows: 1) Have a few people read it and ask what they think. 2) See how much of the prologue is really needed for the story. And 3) (and this is major for me), if you feel like the reader just has to “get through” the first section until the book picks up, that’s a HUGE warning light that the writing isn’t as good as it could be. Personally, I wouldn’t want to suffer through anything to get to the good parts and I’d hope no one would have to do that with what I write. In other words, if you need the prologue, make sure it;s as interesting as the rest of your book.
Keep the questions coming everyone for the December Q&A!