To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business. – Harvey Mackay
There are few aspiring writers who write only for themselves. It doesn’t matter if you have the confidence to share your work or not, when we write a captivating story it’s always in the hopes that it may reach the standard of those writers who inspire us. Whether you want to turn writing into a career or you just want someone to dive into the worlds you create and never come out, our stories are undoubtedly made to be shared…and in many cases, sold.
We “creative types” have a tendency to convince ourselves that what we do stands apart from other businesses due to the diversity of our final products. The artist, the musician, the writer, they all have the freedom to express themselves in an infinite number of ways that will always result in the creation of something new. We’re surely world’s apart from those who have to follow the rules in the non-creative business community, right?
Wrong. The truth is that if you’ve ever considered sharing your work and hoped for others to enjoy it, you’re selling a product whether you charge for it or not. The pivotal point in any sale is the pitch. Without a pitch, there’s no hook. If you don’t have a hook, then how do you expect to catch any fish? You can’t expect a product to be successful if you can’t draw an audience to it and the initial pitch is key to that; In the case of writing, that pitch is most often our prologue.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a wide range of opinions within the writing community on how a prologue should be structured in order to provide the best experience possible to readers. We’re all looking for that ultimate method of storytelling that can drag a newcomer into the worlds we build in a way that makes them never want to leave but everyone has a different idea on the means to achieve it.
Do our readers enter these worlds with all the answers laid out before them or let curiosity drive them forward through a fog of mystery? Are they plunged headfirst into action or tortured with tension? What do we offer our audience and what do we withhold from them? What do you want your prologue to achieve?
In future posts, I intend to look at several common methods in prologues that are used by both aspiring and professional writers. I’ll give my own outspoken opinions regarding their pros and cons but as always, I invite open discussion on the matter. What prologue styles do you commonly use and which methods have you struggled to master? Do you even think a prologue is necessary or would you prefer to jump straight into the story itself?
The next post on this subject will be discussing just one prologue style that is most commonly found in fantasy and sci-fi fiction – The Timeline Synopsis. This is mainly due to how commonly it’s used by aspiring writers but also because I have a ton to say about this one in particular!
Let me know how you like to start your stories and why! After all, there’s no better way to learn than to discuss.