beginning at the end

by Shayne

As many others have stated, this site has been an absolute blessing to find. I`ve been able to organize all my thoughts into a comprehensive outline and have been super excited to start writing. I intended to start at the beginning, but when I sat down to write, what came out was something entirely different. Right now I`m labeling it as a prologue, but actually its a snippet of dialogue and content from the near-end of the story (not the actual end, there`d probably be about a chapter left at least).


I`ve since moved on to start where I meant to - at the beginning, but have been going back and forth on whether to keep this "prologue" or not. I`m really drawn to it, and I want to keep it because it really sets the tone for the story, plus it gives the reader some important information/clues that will be helpful for them to know going in to Chapter 1.

This bit of prologue is written in first person present by the character who will be recording the story...she has lived through everything and is going to sit down and write it, only she`ll be writing from third person. By including the prologue, it establishes that this story is actually being told by this particular character/main character.

The main con to this is that the reader also knows from the start that at least this particular character and the one she`s interacting with will make it through the story. (throughout the story there are times when it seems very possible one of them will be killed).

I wanted to know what your thoughts or advice on this are? And I apologize for the length of this post. Thank you for all your help!

Answer: Many people dislike prologues, but that's usually because prologues often show the beginning of the overall story, whereas most readers want to get straight to the main character's story.

In this case, since you're starting with (I presume) the end of the main character's arc, you are giving the reader a chance to connect with that character. (It does make me wonder why you don't write the whole book in first person.)

As for telling the story in a non-chronological way, this is often done in cases where perhaps the beginning of the story is a little weak and needs a hook to get the reader interested. Starting at the end can accomplish this by establishing a little mystery. The reader wonders how the main character ended up the way she is at the end. So as long as the character's voice is engaging and your prologue evokes curiosity in the reader, it should work.

Of course, once you have finished a draft, you may want to reevaluate this just to make sure you are starting at the most engaging point in the story.

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Feb 12, 2015
thank you!
by: Shayne

You input gives me more confidence in going forward with the prologue as it is. As for the tense...I suppose I`m not writing it entirely in 1st person simply becuase I prefer 3rd. However, I`m still playing with that a little as I begin chapter 2, so guess I`ll have see what seems to work best for the story!

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