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Setting the scene | Prologue

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Oct. 25, 2019
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Deriving from the Greek term, prologos, meaning, “before word”, a prologue is an opening of a story, or in this context, a comic, that establishes the scene, theme and/or tone of the rest of the narrative. It’s a mini story that happens before the main one unfolds but still relates to the overall events in some way.

A prologue can take place any time before the story takes place. That might be days, months, years or even a century ago. But the events in the this minisode, directly impact what is going to happen and, in turn, can add much needed context. If the main story can be told without a prologue then maybe you need to skip on altogether.

To keep it interesting and, of course necessary, the prologue needs to be an event rather than an infodump. This is the start of your comic and the last thing you want is for readers to tune out before you’ve even properly begun. If you must include some lore or world building, try and weave it into an event. By doing this you’re keeping the reader interested and the prologue essential to the rest of the story.

But most importantly, the prologue needs to be short. It is a short chapter that sets up how and why the events unfold. If your prologue is too long, maybe you need to write a prequel rather than tack it onto the front of your comic. The prologue is the trigger. So fire it quick.

Do you have a prologue in your comic? Do you think comics should have prologues?
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anonymous?

JustNoPoint at 4:04PM, Oct. 30, 2019

One of these days maybe I will have MORE than a Prologue ;_;

usedbooks at 5:31PM, Oct. 26, 2019

Most prologues I've seen use other characters (not the story's main cast) set well before the story in question to create the premise and past. Fifth Element is the most obvious example that comes to mind. I've seen video games do this too. You play as not your character for some reason. Tbh, I find opening a story with a prologue pretty disorienting and a bad way to go about it. The first scene should act like a scientific paper's abstract or a book's back cover. It should be a taste of the story to come. It should have the central characters acting in-character and in the mood and pace of the story. An action story should open with action, a horror story with creepiness, a comedy with humor. Save the "prologue" for a flashback.

Banes at 12:37PM, Oct. 25, 2019

The example I think of right away is a horror movie that introduces characters in their normal lives before the scary stuff starts - they would often start with a prologue, set minutes, weeks or years before with different victims that will give us a taste of what kind of story we’re about to see. Very handy to set the mood and type of conflict in a given story!

bravo1102 at 4:53AM, Oct. 25, 2019

Prologues are a trap set for world builders. They create this background and they absolutely have to tell you about it before the story, and you know they're going to rehash it halfway through when it becomes relevant to the story, so why not skip it and just put in the flashback? Star Wars is a poor example because those "prologues" are actually chapter summaries of the 'story so far' like the chapters in a serial. They're more like an introductory caption setting time and place as opposed to giving a long prologue about the MC's parentage.

damehelsing at 4:42AM, Oct. 25, 2019

I have a prologue in my story, some times, with the way that I built it I feel like it wasn't necessary to call it a prologue, but it was meant to be the introduction to the issue Beatrice will face in the coming chapters, so I tried to not make it too intense but still introduce the conflict Beatrice faces while also including some background stuff. Prologues have never affected me, if I'm being honest. Whether a story has one or doesn't never bothered me. I feel like it's something you can definitely add but it's not something that is necessary?


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