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All Things Writing & Publishing > To preamble or not?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13094 comments Some authors feel they want to give some intro before getting into the actual story, while others believe it's totally unnecessary. Which school do you belong and why?


message 2: by T.L. (last edited May 29, 2017 01:25AM) (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 7 comments I guess it's personal choice.
I'm a fairly straight forward talking person so tend to dive straight in.
The exception to this is my WIP. It's my first duology (others are all stand alone). So at the start of the 2nd book I've included a 'story so far' recap.

But if you are going to include an intro you'll need to format it as if it's a chapter heading for ebooks. Kindles jump straight to chapter 1 (bypassing cover etc.)


message 3: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments I think it depends on the type of book. Some books need a preamble, others really don't. The skill is knowing what works when :-)


message 4: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 7089 comments I love a good prologue, but it should have the following features.

Not longer than one scene.
A sharp, entertaining story in it's own right.
Adds value to the overall story.

Same for an epilogue.


message 5: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2103 comments Not a fan myself...they're usually quite different from the main story. You try to get a feel for a book and then it's thrown out completely when you get to chapter 1 and it feels to me like I have to get use to the book a second time. Sometimes it's a good thing, but not always. Only book I gave up with on my list was due to a prologue I couldn't stand. I forced myself to pick it up again more than a year later just to clear it from my to-read list, and was surprised by it when I started with chapter 1. The book had issues that weren't related to the prologue, but the main story was written in a way where those issues were unintentionally funny and I actually enjoyed it...but the prologue was so different, those issues were grating and annoying.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9231 comments I have two views on this. In my "Dreams Defiled", the second of a trilogy, Chapter 1 had one of the characters driving a vehicle and approaching one base, and for a page or so he was thinking of his immediate problems, and the problems of the others from his group in Book 1. I did that because otherwise what had to happen would probably be too difficult to follow for those who had not read book 1, so yes, it is a bit of an info dump, but not too long, and it also reminded/shown a bit of his character.

As for Prologues, the prologue of "Miranda's Demons" was simply a scene-setter, outlining the pleasant status of the Federation through the eyes of someone recovering from a New year's party. However, my current WiP has a prologue that would break Graeme's rules. It has two scenes. The first has a father and daughter trying to cross the border from Russia into Estonia. The father is shot, but the daughter gets far enough across that the two Russian FSB men face a couple of companies of a US mechanised infantry unit exercising, and two rifles against a couple of Bradleys persuade the Russians to give up. The woman has a satchel taken from her father in his dying breath. The second scene establishes what was in the satchel. The rest of the novel is either set in the US or in Russia. I suppose I could have called it Chapter 1, but it is sufficiently "historical" for the rest of the novel that I call it a prologue.


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13094 comments And as readers: do you prefer to be preambled before getting into the water?


message 8: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5192 comments I recently read a novel in which the preamble indicated where the plot would eventually end up. There were several red herrings along the way, but the preamble made them moot. I'd say be careful with preambles.


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