Writing Series

Simple Steps To Writing Compelling Prologues

An effective and compelling prologue can be the perfect portal through which your reader can get a brief view into the world of your book, and the unimaginable feelings that come with it—but only if you get it right. Writing a compelling prologue can get tricky as you’re stuck between giving too much away or giving too little.

Prologues are mainly the introduction to the world of your book, novel or play. If you get it right, your prologue will pique the interest of your reader, setting a promising mood. However, this is not easy as it may seem.

Most writers are held down by the fear of giving too much away and losing their readers’ interest or held down by the fear of not giving enough and also losing their readers’ interest as well. Thus, the idea of writing a prologue can seem quite an intimidating challenge many would rather not partake in. 

This article helps to shed light on 5 simple, yet effective steps to employ in writing compelling prologues. 

  1. Consider your reasons to writing a prologue 
  2. Focus on the main characters 
  3. Consider your reader’s takeaways
  4. Subtle Foreshadowing 
  5. Avoid Info-dumping 

If you’re curious about ways that you can write compelling prologues that grab your reader’s attention then I’d advise you to continue reading!

  1. Consider Your Reasons To Writing a Prologue 

The why factor largely comes into play when deciding to write a prologue. Most writers do not have a strong enough reason to want to write a prologue and this can greatly affect the quality and effect of the prologue.

For some writers, having a prologue is the compensation for having a weak first few chapters in their book. This is because they feel if the prologue is good enough, the quality of the first few chapters are substituted for a prologue, which shouldn’t be so. If your prologue is good, it is only right for your follow up chapters to be equally as good, in order to not disappoint your readers. 

Noting the reason to write a prologue highly affects the quality of your prologue. The reason for writing a prologue varies between writers. Some reasons may be;

  • The need to introduce a certain character not mentioned in the first few chapters in order to create the right book suspense
  • Set the right mood around the central theme of the book
  • Highlighting on a moment of the book’s climax 

Whatever unique reason why you decide to write a prologue for your book, establishing that factor will help you towards tailoring your prologue to suit the interest of your readers.

  1. Focus On the Main Characters 

Focusing on the main characters of your book is equally as important when writing a prologue. Even if you’re seeking out to give general information about the theme or  location, or to simply give your readers information about your book, it is important to take note of character mentions. This helps pull your readers into the world you create, making them explore the world your book creates, even if it is briefly.

  1. Consider Your Readers Takeaways 

Prologues provides writers with the opportunity to establish the key themes of their books in the minds of their readers. In this regard, to effectively establish that, you must ensure to not derail from highlighting your key theme.

Focusing on your key themes helps you heighten the curiosity of your readers. If the theme of your story is an intriguing one, this will certainly heightened the anticipation of your reader. This makes your reader anticipate what the rest of the book or story promises. 

Noting that whatever you choose to expose in your prologue will have a great significance in the minds of your readers, this guide will help tailor exactly what you want your readers to take-away from reading the prologue. 

  1. Subtle Foreshadowing 

Remember not to give too much. It is difficult to create a balance between giving too much and giving too little, but with the right attention that can be achieved.

Forshadowing is quite delicate with prologues as this could either make your readers continue reading or drop your book back on the shelf. Remember that the need to pique the interest of your readers is your ultimate goal. 

In writing your prologue don’t be tempted to give too much information and ruin the suspense for your readers. Whatever information you are tempted to give, it shouldn’t ruin the anticipation and curiosity of your readers. 

  1. Avoid Info-dumping 

If you are writing as a startup or an experienced writer, you should note that sharing too much information in your prologue is a heavy risk you shouldn’t take.

As a writer, most times we get excited and eager to share so much ( especially when you’re proud of your book), but if you are looking to Make Money Through Writing, you might want to keep the prologue as intriguing as possible.

Avoid info-dumping thereby overwhelming your readers with too much information with just the prologue. 

Remember that the prologue is an introduction and not the main story itself.