Laura's answer is here. Lydia is up next week--she's usually second up, but today she has a wonderful interview with debut author Samuel Park, and you should go check it out! Deb will round out the month. As for me:
Well. This is a funny story, actually.
When I queried Sanctum, it was prologueless. I had read the blogs. I would never do anything so risky as to query a manuscript with a prologue. So imagine my surprise when I get my very first ed letter from Kathleen ... I'm going to quote her here, and I hope she will forgive me (I think it merely displays her awesomeness):
If you’ve looked me up online, then you probably know that I hate prologues with the passion of a thousand suns and more. I'd rather crawl over hot coals than include a prologue.With that being said, I’m prepared to bust out a bag of coals and light those suckers on fire, because I think that’s exactly what this story needs.
Yes, SANCTUM HAS A PROLOGUE.
And in the fall, you can tell me if you think that was a good decision or not.
In general, I try to do without the prologue. So often they are unnecessary. I like to begin a story with Chapter One and move forward from there whenever possible. I mean, why not jump right in? That said, I have another ms with a prologue (I don't know if that one will survive the editing process before the ms goes on sub). As I was beginning to write that ms, I pondered prologues on Twitter, and none other than Andrew Smith responded by saying that, if the prologue was necessary, not to worry about it.
Good enough for me.
However, unless you are Andrew Smith, I suggest you consult with your crit partners and ask yourself if there's any other, better way to start your story. If you're querying, be aware that most agents are very wary of them. You can also educate yourself by reading a handful of the bazillion blog posts and articles on prologues, but no more than that, because that kind of activity can tie you up in knots, I tell you. I'm not going to repeat all of that advice here because I'm definitely no expert on this topic. Obviously, lots of published works have prologues, but like so many things in writing, it's difficult, as an unknown, unpublished writer, to know when it's okay, and when it's not. This is just one of the many decisions we have to make, and it's up to the individual writer to decide what's best for his or her story.
How about you? Are you a fan of the prologue? Why or why not?