Oct 21 2011

Relaying Story Outside Of The Story (Prologues, etc.)

One thing I have discovered very quickly is that there are some people, be they writers of fiction or readers of the same, who hold some very illogical opinions. One such thing I find people very passionate about are the means though which an author should provide back-story.  More than a handful of people say really strange things on this topic.  Like, that they don’t read prologues because if it isn’t part of the “main” story then they are not interested, and that the author should give all information the reader requires during the course of the story.

This boggles my mind!  Because prologues always have been considered parts of the stories to which they belong.  Many famous and great works of fiction have prologues.  Are people who so ardently claim to be against prologues saying that when they read absolute classics like Romeo and Juliet that they skip the prologue?  Nonsense!  Silliness!

I am not using prologues, right now, but I do have ways outside of the main body of the story to introduce important back-story elements.  Why?  Because back-story is important.  And every story requires back story to be told.  But not every story can effectively integrate flashbacks or dialogue between the characters to accomplish this task.

In my novel in progress, “Under the Darkened Moon”, I am currently using aside chapters through the book to relay back-story that was not easily integrated into the bulk text.  To accomplish it in the story proper resulted in long monologues about what someone recalled.  These aside chapters are two or three pages of historical text written by someone other than the main point of view character to provide some counter knowledge and perspective that his own prejudices, and the prejudices of the characters he interacts with, simply do not allow.

For project “Wyvern Lord”, I have opted to provide back-story prior to each chapter with a one or two line quote about events and perceptions provided from various people in the world, some of which appear in the story and others who do not.

My advice to all authors is to write your story the way it needs to be written.  If your story needs a classic prologue then use one.  If it needs some other means to disseminate historical information that happened before Chapter 1, then don’t be afraid to incorporate that information for fear that someone with an irrational fear of that method might be offended.

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