Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A Prologue vs. Chapter 1

Over the past few days, I’ve written the first scene for each of two different novels (Slowpocalypse #7 and Watchbearers #6.) Though they’re the same length – both about 2,000 words or eight printed pages – one is a prologue and the other the first chapter. Why?

Some people think a prologue means ‘short’ (though not anyone who has read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.) What makes something a prologue, or epilogue, though, is being somewhat set apart from the main narrative in some way. In time, location, or perhaps perspective. Often in mysteries that means a murder, or someone discovering a dead body, with the first chapter then featuring the sleuth and the start of the investigation. (Hint, hint.)

The first scene of Catalytic Agents, for example, features Kat diving right into the main story – another hint/tease – so I call it Chapter 1. But Book 6 of Watchbearers begins with a prologue. Partly because it’s from a different point-of-view from the rest of the book. (Also, see first hint above.)

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