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.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.


search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero