Divine Vision

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Prologues

Have you ever wondered what a prologue is? or whether to use it in the book you’re writing?
Below are a few thoughts by others on the topic, including a definition.

Prologues: what are they and how did they originate?

Some more on prologues.

A very useful post.

Why not to have a prologue.

I’ve noticed in recent years that the word Prologue is being substituted with Foreword (common in academic/non-fiction writing but becoming more popular in fiction) and Introduction. I suppose essentially ‘pre-story’ is the best substitute for the prologue whereas foreword and introduction generally provide other information the author thinks the reader should know, such as the reason for compiling a collection of short stories. As a reader, it depends on what I’m reading the book for as to whether I read the pre-story sections, as a minimum they all get a skim through. And for some of the information which is often included in the pre-writing section, it could work just as well at the end as an after-word. Here I’m thinking in particular of historical novels where the author sets out what they changed/adapted from the historical account – very useful for those of us who like to check historical accuracy…

TSL books which stand out as having a prologue/pre-story (other than historical books) include:
Alexander Crombie’s So Long Henry Bear.
Jitendra Kumar Mishra’s play The Cobbles of Kanke
James Martin Charlton’s historical fiction script Divine Vision
Ezra William’s short story collection Selected Pieces and Sue Hampton‘s various short story collections.

first published 25 September 2017, updated 2024

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James Martin Charlton

James Martin Charlton is a dramatist, director and academic. His plays include The World & his Wife, Fat Souls, Groping in the Dark, ecstasy + Grace, Coward, and Reformation. He recently wrote Black Stone as part of an R&D project with Just Some Theatre Co., and a new work, Protomartyr, on St. Alban. Fat Souls, Coward and Reformation are published by Playdead Press. He has written an adaptation of The Pilgrim’s Progress and a play about William Blake, Divine Vision.
He is Interim Academic Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries at Middlesex University. He produces his plays with his own theatre company, JMCFire. www.jamesmartincharlton.co.uk