Prologues with no protagonist – How can they work?

Asked by: Lisa Baker

A prologue without a protagonist can be foreshadowing events using irrelevant characters that interact, speak, or otherwise see events happening that foretell the story ahead, and hint toward the evil of the story or share exposition.

Can you write a story without a protagonist?

No. But those kind of characters aren’t INTERESTING. The protagonist is primarily the main character, so unless you aren’t going to have a main character, you can’t really have no protagonist (although a protagonist could take other forms).

Can prologues be in first person?

The story is written in first person, and the prologue is in third person. The prologue focuses on a secret of one of the characters (which the main character would have no way of knowing, and the author would not otherwise be able to tell the reader due to the first person perspective).

Can the prologue be in third person?

The “prologue is originally through the eyes of one of the protagonist, third person omniscient.” You can either tell the story through the eyes of one character or from an omniscient point-of-view, but not both.

How do prologues work?

A good prologue performs one of many functions in a story: Foreshadowing events to come. Providing background information or backstory on the central conflict. Establishing a point of view (either the main character’s, or that of another character who is privy to the tale)

Can a prologue be in a different person?

You can definitely try it. In Harry Potter Series, the prologue is from the third person limited perspective of Uncle Vernon, while the whole novel is from Harry’s third person limited perspective. It’s not just the first Harry Potter book that does this, either.

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Can a prologue have a different POV?

A different POV prologue describes a certain event from a point-of-view different than the main characters of the plot. This event may occur in the same time-frame as the plot, or years before or after. A different POV prologue should be written in third-person, even if the novel is in first-person.

How do you structure a prologue?

6 Tips for Writing a Prologue

  1. Provide backstory and set the scene for the story that follows.
  2. Hook the reader by hinting at what lies ahead.
  3. Write the prologue from a different point of view.
  4. Don’t use the prologue as an infodump.
  5. Keep it short to keep the reader interested.

Does a prologue count as a chapter?

There is no difference between a prologue called a prologue, and one called ‘chapter one’. If the information is irrelevant to the story, do not include it. If the information is relevant to the story, but only in a setting/atmospheric context, include it only when you need to establish that setting/atmosphere.

Can a short story have a prologue?

If you’re struggling to connect the reader to your story with enough necessary information to understand what’s happening, maybe you need a prologue. A prologue should read exactly as if you were writing a short story without a true ending—your prologue should leave the reader questioning and curious.

Does every story need a prologue?

Most stories don’t need them, yet many writers choose to include them in their stories. Because of this, there are far too many poorly written prologues in this world, leading many experienced writers to villainize prologues as a whole.

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How many pages should a prologue be?

The length of a prologue depends on the nature of the story, but it’s best to keep it trim. One to five pages should suffice. “I don’t mind prologues if they fit the story, and I do like them fairly short,” says agent Andrea Hurst, president of Andrea Hurst & Associates.

What is the difference between a prologue and an introduction?

Prologue — A prologue is similar to an Introduction, and in my view it is really exactly the same. The difference is simply that if you write a Prologue, it makes sense to also write an Epilogue, while with an Introduction you don’t expect any type of closing to the book other than the last chapter.

Do you need a prologue If you have an epilogue?

You don’t always need both a prologue and an epilogue.

Many writers think that if their book has a prologue, it must be balanced with an epilogue, or vice versa. But that isn’t the case at all! You can have only a prologue or only an epilogue.

Can you have a prologue in nonfiction?

You can use a prologue in fiction and nonfiction, but it’s used only to explain key information that doesn’t follow the time flow of the rest of your book. So if your “prologue” doesn’t fit this criterion, either cut it or change it to Chapter 1.

Is prologue the same as preface?

Preface is an introduction to a literary work written by the work’s author himself. Prologue is a separate introductory section of a literary, dramatic, or musical work.

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Can a book have both a preface and a prologue?

You absolutely can have both an introduction and a prologue. Both are concepts which are well-familiar to readers; they will not be confused by it. If you do have both, the Introduction comes first, before any of the fiction begins.

Can a book have 2 forewords?

Can a Book Have Two Forewords? It is possible for a book to have two forewords, although this is not the norm. If you do decide to have two people each write a forward for your book, consider asking them to keep them short.