A Question of Prologues

I am deep in the entrails of The Wound of Words Draft Three, and I have come to a crossroads. Care to help me decide which way to go?

Prologue INow, some people love prologues, some people hate them, and some, for reasons I am unclear on, just skip them. Some part of my mind insists that a short double prologue is just what is needed, so I wrote one. But what do you think?

“I have waited so long…”
The grass crackled with the first frost as her skirts swept across it.

“It will not be long now,” he replied, taking her long pale hand in his dark-gloved one. “And then we will be at each other’s side. Forever.”
“Such a man will grace the highest rank of society,” she said, her gaze drifting over his confident bearing.
“I am honoured to be the chosen of such a lady,” he returned courteously, clasping her two hands in his. “Such a gift!”
She smiled. “You know I would do anything…for you.”

❄ ❄ ❄

“I have waited so long to be happy,” she whispered, and the cold moonlight glinted on a tear welling under her lashes. “How can I believe at last that my waiting is at an end?”
“How can you doubt it?” he asked. “Look at what I’m doing for you. I do not seek my own advantage — I only want to help you to what you deserve.”
His dark-gloved hands drew hers toward him. He turned them palms up and kissed them.
She shivered and drew closer.
“Just give me your heart—that’s all I ask,” he murmured.
“It’s yours—you know it is.”
“And here is my gift to you,” he said, folding her hands closed. “Power shall never leave your hands. And soon…your word will be law.”
Her two hands curled tightly into fists as she leaned into his embrace.

What do you think?

If you have read Draft 2.2, do you think this gives too much away? (Don’t worry about spoilers in your comments – I’ll redact them.) Does it give an inaccurate sense of mood or tone? Does it add something, or does it take away?

If you haven’t read Draft 2.2, does the prologue interest you in reading the novel? What about it draws you?

Your opinions welcomed! Because frankly, I’m up to my ears in book entrails and I think I’ve got something clogging my figurative ears. Is this prologue an evocative morceau of intrigue, a cheesy double helping of cringe, or a confusing waste of two hundred-odd words? I can’t even tell.

The comment section is open – have your say!

6 Replies to “A Question of Prologues”

  1. Not sure you need a prologue, though this isn’t a bad one. However, I do think it’s a bit of a spoiler, and kind of takes away all doubt about who is responsible for what down the track. I think I’d give it a miss, as the beginning of the story (as I read it) is quite fast-moving and intriguing enough. If you think you need to reveal this transaction, perhaps it could come later in the action?

        1. Certainly worth considering. The trick is to tell the right amount at the right time without clogging up the flow of action [mops brow].

  2. I don’t understand the idea of a double prologue. Are you suggesting one or other, or both?
    The second is quite revealing, and some of your smarter readers would probably find it too helpful in anticipating events in the story.
    The first is fine in itself…. but having read the book without a prologue, I think I prefer it that way. It was better to get straight into the story and find my feet there, instead of being given clues about who I would find and what relationships they had.
    My vote would be no prologue.

    1. Good to know, thank you!
      My intent with ‘double prologue’ was to suggest a prologue of more than one scene – no idea if that’s a genuine term or not.

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