Saturday, October 04, 2008

Prologue Pet Peeves

I have clarified to myself a pet peeve in books.

The prologue. Perhaps not all prologues should go on my bathwater list but this type does.

I read a prologue that was about six pages long. It sets up this dramatic scene of mistrust, possible betrayal and who will the heroine actually leave with and is it the right person?

Then the book starts way before the heroine meets these people and builds. The thing is, the part where the prologue started is actually a verbatim scene 3/4 of the book in. Heck, I didn't bother reading any of the book. I found the scene, read through to the end and just from the last five chapters, I got the whole gist without all that rigamarole of dragging my butt through what was going to happen. It read like a cliche and I hated it!

For me, a prologue should NOT be about a point in the future of the book that we have to read up until. It didn't grab me enough to get me to CARE. I certianly didn't give a fig if she went with this guy or that, trust that guy or this. Big deal.

I prefer a prologue to set up the story. Perhaps a scene that shows a catalyst for a series of events that we will now read about. A history to make us understand why we are about to read what we are. Like...a crime that remained unsolved because the villain thought they were untouchable and they left the scene thinking no one would ever stumble upon it. The story will then pick up because someone DID.

Or a setup, perhaps an old woman looks into a flaming blaze and sees her granddaughter having to face an old foe of the family at a critical time in her future life and the old woman sets up safe guards that will find and aid the young woman when the time is right.

Those, to me, are prologues that set up a story and allow me to read from cover to cover.

The initial prologue pet peeve example does absolutely nothing for me, except inspire me to put it back on the shelf, throw it against the wall or write passionate drivel on a blog such as this to vent my spleen.

Gee! I feel better. What do you know?


Brandy said...

I don't blame you for not liking that book. I don't believe I'd like that either.

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Michele, thanks for visiting my blog! I agree with you about that photo of Viggo -- he'd make a great alpha shifter.

I also agree with this post about prologues. Lots of writers and editors don't like them, period. I do. Love to read them, love to write them. But not as a future point in the book! Talk about putting the cart before the horse. What a waste!