Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Prologue or not to Prologue that is the question.

I have started my follow up novel to Across the Pond, “Across the Pond and Back Again”. The book starts where the other one finished, but what do I do for people who have not read the first book to let them know what has gone before.

One would normally expect that such things would go into “The Prologue”.

In the 19070’s English Comedian Frankie Howerd played a slave, Lurcio (pronounced Lurk-io). In the BBC comedy set in ancient Pompeii (pre-eruption) called “Up Pompeii”. The set-up of this program was little more than a backdrop for an endless series of double entendres and risqué gags. Howerd was the key to most of the gags and he started each episode with a prologue — a "to camera" that would usually never get finished and rarely had anything to do with the episode plot.

However like Frankie Howerd and his attempts to complete his prologue, the question is in a book “Do people read the prologue?”

If I do not use the prologue as a “what happened in book one” then what?

Flash backs at the start of a book are quite often frowned on, by publishers, and the “thinking back to what had gone before” line also does not go down to well.

One way or another in the first chapter there has to be at least some form of link and explanation as to why “Fred Squire” is on a plane flying back to England, with a check for $1000 and two first class return tickets in his pocket and an ache in his heart.

Across the Pond


  1. I'm so thrilled you are starting your next one, Barry! Take your time, don't rush. Let the story come to you. That's my best advice I can've got it in you...let it come to you naturally. ;o)

  2. Barry, I wonder about this, too, as I prepare to write a follow up to my first book. Should we write a prologue to catch new readers up to speed - or should we presume that our readers will follow us from one book to the next and not need the back story? Maybe just a line or two as a reminder? That is a good question. Perhaps some readers will chime in with what they prefer.

  3. All the blogers I use as my sounding board don't read prologues hence why I wrote the blogg. So I am rememvering /flash back while the plane takes off