Round Robin – Prologue and Epilogue

PROLOGUE AND EPILOGUE The temptation to misquote from something half remembered is too strong to overcome. In my beginning is my end…

I don’t use either prologues or epilogues in the four novels I’ve published so far. It is fair to say that Daisy’s Dilemma carries on the story of Lady Daisy and by doing so tells any interested reader what happened after the first book, Mariah’s Marriage, ended.

But that is novel length and hardly a short rounding off of anyone’s story.

So – why not?

Prologues almost, but not quite, fall into the same category as Introductions for me. I don’t read them before I read the book and sometimes not even then. Is this impatience to be getting on with the story? Is it arrogance? Why do I need to have someone’s view of a subject before forming my own?

Prologues of course are little tasters. They plant a hook deep in the reader’s brain about what happened to, or in the life of, one of the characters who are about to unfold on the book’s stage. I prefer to have all of that in my story. Maybe it’s just a question of stylistic preference.

Epilogues round off or flesh out the ending the reader has been presented with. Just in case one was unsure doubt is removed. Yes, there was a happy ending and here is how it evolved. No, it was a bittersweet ending and here is how it evolved. Oh dear, the baddie was rescued by a passer-by and is recovering in hospital to plague the hero and/or heroine in another book.

Personally, although I do read epilogues, I like my own imagination to have room to weave an ongoing fantasy.

Our full topic asked if you could have one without the other. I don’t see why not, but perhaps my fellow bloggers have reasons. Catch their opinions below.

Anne Stenhouse Author

Margaret Fieland
Skye Taylor
Dr. Bob Rich
Marci Baun
A.J. Maguire
Victoria Chatham
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Rachael Kosinski
Kay Sisk
Rhobin Courtright


15 thoughts on “Round Robin – Prologue and Epilogue

  1. In two of my stories, I have prologues. They are short (2-3 pages max). In one, it’s information the main character isn’t going to know because it’s about her birth. I’ve posted it as part of my blog post. The other is from an earlier time from the heroine’s POV. I could probably take both out, but I think the readers will enjoy them. I’ll wait to see what my editor thinks. 🙂

    For me, I think if there is going to be either a prologue or epilogue, both need to be short. I recently picked up a book with a prologue that ran on for 10 or more pages. I put the book back down. If that long of a prologue is needed, then they’re starting the book in the wrong place.



    • Hi Marci, that’s a really good point about length. It can be hard knowing when to start your story and sometimes you need to write yourself in and then omit the first 10 pages. Nice of you to drop by, thank you, Anne


  2. Our takes on this topic all come from slightly different angles, it makes reading the posts interesting. I guess I’m used to doing what I’m told, so always read the prologue even if I don’t like it.


    • Hi Rhobin, my site is misbehaving so this will either go up 3 times or not at all. We’re a bit anarchic over some things in this house. There’s a saying, much used, if all else fails read the instructions. Maybe I’d get more out of my reading if I read the prologues. anne


  3. Length is definitely important. If either the prologue or epilogue is short it’s more likely to get read. In spite of Webster’s definition, however I think commentary about what’s to come or has happened is likely to turn a reader off while a short vivid action might grab their attention at the start.


  4. Oh, so you are one of those dreaded readers who skip the start to get to the start?
    That’s why nowadays if I feel I need a prologue, I call it something else and trick you into reading it.


  5. I agree with your comment – I prefer to have all of that in my story. I think that’s what is important. A prologue needs to have a very specific reason to be there.
    again it depends on the story.


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