What I'm reading: The Drop, by Michael Connelly
Note: Today is the LAST day to enter Giveaway #3. Check the Deals & Steals tab. Remember, you have to let me know you've entered.
When I was starting to learn the craft of writing (not really all that long ago), I noted that many speakers, be they authors, agents, or editors, spoke about prologues. As with everything else, opinions varied. Some agents said, "When I ask for your first five (or ten) pages, don't send me your prologue; I want to see Chapter 1, which is where your book really starts." Others wanted to see the prologue.
There was the question of what determines a prologue in the first place. If it's showing action that begins shortly before your Chapter 1, then it should BE Chapter 1.
Then there's the question, "Is it needed at all?" Could that information be woven in as back story. Are the prologue characters going to appear in the book?
And lastly, came the guideline I tended to follow. Prologues in romance used to be the norm (along with epilogues, but that's another topic). However, they were falling out of favor, and the recommendation was to avoid them.
Not being fond of prologues myself, I liked the last one, and didn't include prologues to any of my romantic suspense books. I used the "trickle the information in later" method. I did write a prologue for Finding Sarah—more as a way to get to know her back story than to add to the book. I never submitted it with the manuscript, and you can find it in "Finding Fire" where I collected several stories and vignettes I wrote about Randy and Sarah, simply because I wanted to know more about them.
But now, I've published DEADLY SECRETS. It's a mystery. Prologues in mysteries are still common. Often they show the murder, or reveal something about the victim. In many cases, this is information the reader is privy to, but the detective isn't. I did think the book needed a prologue, to set the foundation for a theme of the book. I did follow the, "It happens years before the book opens" guideline, so I felt comfortable calling it a prologue instead of Chapter 1.
Does everyone read prologues? No, not always. Will the book stand if they don't? With DEADLY SECRETS, think it will, although there are definitely clues dropped in there, and my feeling is that since I took the time and effort to write the words, I hope readers will read ALL of them.
DEADLY SECRETS is available at just about all the e-bookstores. I published it directly to Amazon for Kindle readers, and to Barnes & Noble for those with Nooks. I've published it at Smashwords, which provides formats for just about any e-reading device. Eventually, they send it to some of the other stores such as Sony, but that takes several weeks, but you can still download a format that fits most devices.
And, one of the 'perks' to readers is that they can download samples. So, if you want to read the prologue, you can do it for free. All the links for finding the book are on my website here.
What's your take on prologues? Do you read them? Skip them? Like them? Do you like them in one genre, but not another?
Tomorrow my guest, Mel Teshco, is taking us Down Under. Don't miss it.
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