Whew!!! I finished my Branson Falls revisions!!! *Happy Dance*
I started this post about prologues and prefaces a while ago and as I've been working on it, it just keeps getting longer. I decided to split it into two posts, so for the first, I offer you a definition.
Prologues and prefaces seem to be all the rage lately--especially in YA books. Since Eternal Starling was YA, I seriously debated whether I should put one in. I mean, lots of other YA writers were doing it, should I do it too? The problem is that I'm not a preface or prologue fan. And I found out most agents aren't preface or prologue fans either (more on that in post #2). I had to decide what I wanted to do with Eternal Starling, but first, I needed to find out what the difference between a preface and prologue actually was!
There are SO many conflicting ideas out there about this--everywhere from mywriterscircle.com to absolutewrite.com. I finally found an answer that made sense to me and then found the same answer over and over again as I researched. Though, like I said, the opinions are conflicting, so feel free to do your own research and decide for yourself. You can also check this link from writersandeditors.com for a more detailed prologue and preface definition summary.
If you're confused like I was, read on for a definition and example.
A prologue is used to give the reader critical information that happens before the story starts. The reader will need that information later to understand what's happening in the book. A good example of this is the prologue in Hush, Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick. The prologue happens in a completely different century than when the book takes place, but the information in the prologue is important to the plot of the book.
A preface is a retelling of something that happens later in the book and is often used as a way to hook a reader. A good example of this is the preface for Twilight. A lot of YA books use this tool as a way to get the audience immediately interested in the book and make them want to keep reading.
Now you know the difference, you can check your own preface or prologue and figure out what it actually is! In the next few days I'll post my take on why so many agents seem to hate prefaces and prologues, but editors seem to love them.