To prologue or not to prologue

Prologues have a pretty bad rep. Most editors will tell you to cut them out. If they’re giving the reader crucial information, slide that into the book. If they’re hooking the reader, make it a chapter. Either way, chop that prologue away.

The issue with prologues is that they’re asking the reader to get into the book, not once, but twice. It takes effort. Some readers don’t make that effort. I have to admit, there are times when I’ve skipped the prologue. It’s a chancy business.

If you’re an indie author, you can do whatever makes you happy and go with your gut. They say prologues are out? You put in three. Who cares what they think? After all, you’re your own boss.

However, if you’re interested in what others are saying (here come the links!), I have some posts to share with you.

This one is by Marg McAllister in Foremost Press and breaks down when to use a prologue and when not to. It also explains the uses of a prologue and has examples when it works well.

This one is by Kristen Lamb and has the cons and pros of a prologue with a delicious title: The Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues.

This one is by Nathan Bransford and this one by Kristin Nelson where they explain all the reasons against prologues.

Finally, this one by Kas Thomas in his Author Zone in which he candidly explains pros and cons.

I should add that in my first book, I put in a prologue (about 5 lines long) and now, my second, I’m considering doing without.

What about you? Do prologues work for you? Do you skip them (gasp!) when you’re reading or faithfully read every word?