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Monday, August 24, 2009

Prologues and Epilogues

I've often wondered if readers enjoy reading prologues and epilogues in romance books. As a reader, I like reading a prologue, especially if it sets up the story. Reading epilogues gives a future "look" into the hero and heroine's tale and takes me beyond the "Happily-Ever-After" ending so I can witness for myself just how their future unfolded.

I wrote one book using the prologue technique. When I first thought about writing "Streets of Dreams"(by Marianne Stephens), using a prologue popped into my head as the best way to gain reader attention right away. The prologue is in the killer's point of view, and I hoped it would capture a reader's immediate attention.

One book I'm working on now also has a prologue. I want to give the reader a glimpse of the hero and heroine's "history" so that Chapter One can start months later. With this book...once again...the idea of catching the reader's interest required a prologue.

Epilogues. I've written two in romance books I haven't published. These books need "polishing" and lots of editing. But, once again, after I finished my last chapters for each book, I sensed a "need" to tell a little more about what happened to the hero and heroine in their future.

As I mentioned above, I like reading both prologues and epilogues. I like that glimpse into the past and future. A prologue can eliminate some "backstory" insertions in the book so can be helpful to the writer. Epilogues can be helpful for those writing a series...an author can use this technique to hint at the next series book and inspire curiosity and interest. Or, for single titles, it can just give the reader a "little something extra" about what happens after that final chapter.

My two erotic romance books by April Ash, "Strip Poker for Two" and "Sexy Games", don't have prologues or epilogues. I liked where the stories started and how I ended them. I didn't see a need to lengthen the story at either end.

What do you prefer? Do you enjoy reading/writing Prologues? Epilogues? Both? Neither?

"Sexy Games" and "Strip Poker for Two" are available at Ellora's Cave. Visit www.aprilash.net or www.mariannestephens.net for information about all my books!

5 comments:

  1. I had an epilogue on Out of Her Dreams but was told I didn't need it. I have one on A Brief Moment of Pleasure coming February from Resplendence, but I think I'll dump it, too. It was explaining what had come of all the stuff that went down...but it sort of weakens the ending.

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  2. I wrote an epilogue for Talk Dirty to Topaz. All the others have neither, epilogue or prologues. I do enjoy reading them though!

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  3. I love a good prologue if it strengthens and speeds up the plot. Epilogues I'm not so enthusiastic about. An epilogue had better be needed or else it should go. Most of the time the epilogue material is unnecessary if the writer did their job foreshadowing the future. When in Doubt-leave the Doubts. lol
    XXOO Kat

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  4. I do like a good prologue under the right circumstances. Sometimes you just need to set the scene. It's like setting the table for a great meal. I feel the same about an epilogue. I like to know a little bit more than an HEA. My Everything (Julia Barrett) has an epilogue. My two new works with Resplendence are connected so the second work has a prologue and an epilogue. Hope my editor keeps them in!

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  5. I agree that a prologue or an epilogue can enhance a story if used correctly. I think a good epilogue for a romance story can provide icing on the HEA cake.

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