Flashback as hook?

by Ethan
(Indiana)

Question: I am wanting to start my novel with the prologue time jumping following the main characters with their experience with the character who dies that will start up the story. Is there a right way of doing this kind of intro?


Answer: Some readers don't like prologues, but if you feel it's right for your story, here are some things to keep in mind...

Good prologues usually show the initial driver -- the key event, without which the rest of the story would not happen. They make the readers anxious to find out what will happen as a result.

Another way to hook the reader is to make the prologue raise questions that must be answered in the course of the story.

If the prologue also introduces the main character, that is good. Many readers want to meet the main character right away and dislike prologues that happen long before the main character enters the story.

Finally, make the prologue about one event only. (I'm a bit worried when you say the prologue will be about many characters' experience with the person who dies.) If you have a number of characters to introduce or a number of events that are backstory, it might be better to use this material to create a series of flashbacks and insert them later in the story.

You don't want a long prologue. Get to the main character or the main plot in the present quickly.

Best of luck.

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