Is it just me, or do you also groan whenever you’re about to start a shiny new book and flip to that anticipated first page, only to be greeted with an annoying summation of what’s already occurred?
I feel like this happens a lot in fantasy type novels whether it's a romance or not. Perhaps it’s because in most cases, the setting is a completely fictional world that the reader will not be familiar with. Or maybe, a catastrophic event has taken place and the author wants us to get our bearings before beginning the story. I’ve also seen some prologues as a dream sequence before the main character wakes up and the story begins. Why was the dream a prologue? It could just as easily have been in the first chapter.
Regardless of the reason, I can only wonder whether it’s entirely necessary. A prologue should be used to give readers extra information that advances the plot. But I know many of us have a habit of skipping right past them.
So if the prologue is being used simply to “hook” the reader and we’re ignoring it, the author hasn’t done themselves any favors. If at all possible, I would much rather information be revealed while characters develop. If the prologue isn’t serving a real and crucial purpose, it’s just wasted space.
For information about using a prologue, I highly recommend visiting Reedsy for some expert advise.
What do you think?