Inspiration Station: Prologue/Epilogue

IS Prologue Epilogue

What is a prologue?

The beginning to start the beginning. A prologue is usually a chapter before chapter one. Sometimes it has something to do with the novel, sometimes it doesn’t.

With that being said…

Do I need a prologue?

Ask yourself, “will this prologue contribute to the plot?” If the answer is yes, then you can probably get away with having a prologue.

If the answer is no, then I wouldn’t bother. Some readers ignore prologues regardless of whether they’re important or not. You want your prologue to have some significance to the plot to start the novel off right.

What should my prologue be about?

There are a few ways to utilize a prologue. Depending on your plot and genre, some ways are probably better than others. You need to use your best judgement on which opening works best for your novel.

Past Protagonist

Take a dip into the past long before your novel even starts. The prologue can be a few years before chapter one, it can be a couple of days before.

This can be written in a different POV, as well. The prologue can explain something that happened long before your main character was born.

As long as there is relevant information to help the plot along, the prologue should be good to go.

Background Information

If your novel is set in a new, fictional world some background would be useful to the reader. There are some things that should be explained before they’re thrown into a brand new world they know nothing about.

New world or not, you can always give information on other things such as a background on the main character.

Just be careful not to info-dump. You want the information to be relevant to the novel and interesting enough to the reader.

If it’s something that will be explained throughout the novel, then don’t bother to explain it in the prologue. Some things the readers should be able to figure out on their own as they read the novel.

What is an epilogue?

The end to end the ending… I’m going to hope that made sense.

While a prologue helps begin the novel, an epilogue helps end the novel.

Do I need an epilogue?

Ask yourself the same question you would ask about your prologue. Will it be relevant to the plot?

Most epilogues are used as an “aftermath” of the story. If you can wrap up your plot and give the readers a more satisfying ending for the characters, then an epilogue might be useful to the story.

What should my epilogue be about?

Most epilogues take a peek into the future.

Wrap-Up

Did your novel have an intense climax? Did it end immediately after the resolution? Use the epilogue to explain what happened to the characters and the world after that. It can be a couple months later or a few years later. Give you characters a “happy ending” or at least the ending they deserve.

Explaining Life

Was a character pregnant? Fast forward a few months and explain the baby. It shows that life goes on despite the plot. Show how the characters have moved on with their life after the plot of the story.

Explaining Death

Did any characters die? Fast forward and show how the other characters cope. Again, show how the characters have moved on with their life after the plot.

Sometimes prologues and epilogues aren’t necessary. Epilogues seem to be more common than prologues. Most readers like to know what happens to the characters after their hardships of the plot.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, check out my posts about Beginnings, Middles, and Ends!

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Excerpt: Hunter

There are about five days left of Camp NaNoWriMo. I have hit 50k in my novel Hunter, but the story is far from being over.

I wanted to post an excerpt to you guys since you’re the one who voted for me to write Hunter for Camp in the first place.

I ended up deciding to post the whole Prologue. I think it’s a pretty decent teaser of how the story is going to unfold.

The prologue is when the protagonist, Cat, is just a baby so she’s not even in it. But you do get a good sense of her parents (and their relationship); especially her father, who is a huge character throughout the novel.

I haven’t worked out the timeline just yet. Cat is 16 in the first chapter, so you can imagine that the prologue is 16 years earlier… whatever year that may be.

Here is the summary of the novel in case of you don’t remember:

Cat Webber is the daughter of big-shot Cedric Webber, founder and owner of X-Terminate; a company that rids mutants off the streets to keep humans safe. Raised as a Hunter, Cat believes all mutants are bad simply because they’re different from humans. However, her morals are questioned when she gets to know some mutants; especially Brandon Hurst.

Brandon Hurst is a mutant who can teleport and bend time. He knows some secrets about X-Terminate and Cedric that Cat doesn’t know. Cat is curious to find out what Brandon may or may not know. It’s not until she discovers her father is killing off the mutants that Cat struggles with her choices: taking her father’s orders or standing up for what she believes is right.

Please keep in mind that the prologue was proof-read for typos and minor errors to be posted on here, but it isn’t edited. This is first draft material.

Enjoy.

            The house was quiet except for the rush of water pouring from the kitchen’s sink faucet. Steam rose from the bottom as the hot water slapped against the dirty dishes. The scent of dish soap wafted in the air as Christina Webber squirted a small dab of liquid soap onto a sponge. She wiped her forehead with her arm, careful not to let the rubber glove scrap against her face. The young woman scrubbed a dinner plate with all her might, sighing as she put it on the drying rack next to the sink. She looked to her left at the digital clock on the microwave.

9:10 PM. He was late again.

Christina grunted in frustration. She was getting tired of her husband always missing dinner. She picked up a baby bottle in the sink and scrubbed that clean. She stared at it before putting it on the drying rack. Her husband was not only missing dinner with his family, but he was missing out on being with their daughter.

It wasn’t until Christina finished washing the dishes that she heard the front door open in the other room. She took off her rubber gloves and placed them in the cabinet under the sink. Her husband would be getting no warm welcome from her.

A tall, stocky man entered the kitchen. He stood in the doorway watching his wife as she folded a dishtowel and placed it inside a drawer. She shifted her eyes trying to see her husband without actually looking at him, but she couldn’t see out of the back of her head. Christina finally gave in and turned around. She leaned against the counter staring at her husband leaning against the door frame.

“Cedric,” she said; it was the best greeting she could come up with.

“Good evening, Christina.” Her husband smiled. He walked towards her with his arms open wide readying for an embrace.

Christina turned her head and walked over to the stove. Cedric stood by the sink with his arms still stretched out for a moment. He frowned, slowly lowering his arms down by his sides.

“Okay… what did I do now?” he asked.

“How was work?” Christina replied wiping down the top of the stove.

“Busy,” Cedric teetered his head to the side as if he was trying to remember what happened that day. He walked across the tiled floor and sat down at the circular kitchen table. He folded his hands together resting them on the surface and watched Christina clean. “How was your day?”

“Fine,” Christina continued to give him the cold shoulder.

Cedric sighed. He scratched the top of his head wondering what to say.

“I know you’re annoyed with me, so just come out and say it.” He said through gritted teeth. He tried not to be angry with Christina, but he couldn’t stand it when she didn’t talk to him like that.

Christina paused in her cleaning and turned around. She leaned back against the stove glaring at her husband.

“What caused you to miss dinner again? I thought you were supposed to be home by six. I had a chicken cooked and ready to eat at six o’clock for you. I waited until 7:30 before I decided to eat without you.” Christina explained.

“I’m sorry. I should have called.” Cedric stood up from his chair and walked over to his wife, his arms stretched out again.

“Should have doesn’t cut it.” Christina glared at him. She walked away before Cedric could pull her into an apologetic hug.

Cedric took a deep, calming breath trying not to lose his temper. He knew Christina had a right to be angry with him; he just didn’t like it.

“I’ll call next time.” He stated.

Next time?” Christina turned around, her narrowed eyes burning into him. “There shouldn’t be a next time! Cedric, you leave for work at six in the morning. Why is it that you need to work over 12-hour shifts? You should be home by three in the afternoon when you leave so early.”

“Do you really think it’s that easy to run a company?” Cedric glared at her, his temper slowly getting the better of him.

“Just because you’re the owner doesn’t mean that you need to be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What about James? He can handle the company while you’re not there.” Christina countered.

“James is busy with other things I give him to work on. I can’t ask him to do everything.” Cedric shrugged his shoulders. “I’m the one in the charge. I have to do the big-boy work. Sometimes it takes all day.”

“Just sometimes? You have a life outside of work, you know. Or did you forget that?” Christina snapped.

Cedric swallowed a lump in his throat. He rubbed the back of his neck, turning around to leave the room. Christina shook her head in disgust knowing that he was running away from their fight.

“How old is Catherine going to be tomorrow?” she called right as he made it to the doorway.

Cedric stopped and looked at her. “Six months. Do you honestly think I don’t know how old my own daughter is?”

“Seven.” Christina corrected, her voice getting caught in her throat. “You’re daughter will be seven months tomorrow.”

“Right,” Cedric cleared his throat, “Seven. That’s what I meant.”

“Where have you been?” Christina whispered through teary eyes. She wiped her face and sniffed before any tears could make it down her cheeks. “You’re missing everything.”

“You and Catherine both will be thanking me 20 years from now. She’ll be  able to go to a good college because we can afford it.” Cedric narrowed his eyes.

“She’s seven months. Do we really need to think about affording college at the moment?” Christina asked softly.

Cedric grunted. He turned away exiting the kitchen. Christina closed her eyes, squeezing a tear out. She took a deep breath trying to compose herself when Cedric walked back into the room with an envelope in his hand. Christina opened her eyes as Cedric waved the envelope in the air.

“I noticed this on the coffee table when I walked through the front door.” Cedric stated.

Christina glared at him. “And you read it?”

“It was opened.”

“I don’t care. It’s a letter addressed to me.”

“Then don’t leave it out in the open next time.” Cedric shrugged.

“Why not? Is this not my house? I can’t leave my things anywhere I want?” Christina glowered at her husband. She wanted to raised her voice, but knew that would only make things worse.

“Why is Robert Acton writing to you?” Cedric demanded.

Christina narrowed her eyes trying to figure out what Cedric was getting at. “I used to work with him before I had Catherine. He writes me every so often asking how we and the baby are doing.” She answered quietly, cautiously. She didn’t know how Cedric was going to react; not knowing what was going through his head.

“You shouldn’t be talking to him. In fact, he shouldn’t even have a job!” Cedric hissed slapping the envelope down on the kitchen table.

Christina raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t want you talking to him anymore.” Cedric placed his hands on hips looking all around to room, avoiding his wife’s gaze.

“I’ll talk to whoever I want.” Christina countered standing straighter.

“You shouldn’t be associated with him in any way, shape, or form.” Cedric glared at her. Christina took a step back knowing this look on his face all too well, but she managed to stand her ground.

“He’s an old co-worker. He’s a friend.” Christina stated as calmly as she could, but her voice shook in the slightest.

“He’s a mutant!” Cedric raised his voice.

“He’s a human being.” Christina retorted. “So he may be a bit different from us, but he’s a person nonetheless.”

“Damn it, Christina!” Cedric shouted slamming his fist on the kitchen table.

Christina watched unblinking as her husband threw a temper tantrum. She didn’t respond, not wanting to feed into her anger anymore than she already did.

A faint cry came through the baby monitor sitting on the counter. Christina closed her eyes, groaning. She glared at Cedric shaking her head.

“You woke the baby.”

“You can go soothe her.” Cedric grunted. He sat at the table with his head buried in his hands. “You’re her mother and I’m apparently not a good father for trying to make money to provide for my family!”

The baby cried louder as he shouted again. Christina rolled her eyes at his dramatic speech. She walked across the kitchen floor to leave the room.

“Then while I’m soothing our child, you can get some extra blankets and pillows out of the storage closet.” She ordered as she left the room. “You’re sleeping on the couch tonight.”

Cedric glared at his wife’s back, but didn’t respond knowing her comment meant the argument was over. He picked up the envelope and took the letter out. His eyes glazed over the words re-reading Robert’s friendly conversation with his wife. He growled through gritted teeth before making it to the end of the letter. He tore the paper in half a few times until it was shredded into small pieces.

I Have Issues

Today Was  A Joke…

 

Today was the first day in a long time that I have nothing to do. So I told myself that I was going to wake up early, take a shower, and write. And write, and write, and write some more. Except things didn’t go exactly as planned.

I’m stuck.

I didn’t get a chance to write at all this past weekend. There were some times here and there I would have been able to squeeze some words in, but I didn’t. Normally I would have or if I didn’t, I would have been freaking out about why I didn’t get anything done. Not this time. I didn’t feel like writing and that was that.

I’m going to assume I burned myself out when it comes to writing. But this burn out couldn’t have come at another time? It’s in the middle of the July, I have Camp NaNo to finish. Not to mention I’m already losing next week because I’m going on vacation. I don’t need to lose two additional days.

So I told myself today was going to be an all day writing day. I can’t tell you how many words I have written because I literally have no idea. I am so burned out that every time I tried to write today, I said: “Screw it!”

I’m writing Cybertra for Camp NaNo and I’m ahead of the NaNo goal, but 11,000 words behind my own goal. Two days and I’m that far behind…what? I forced myself to write it and I got about 540 words done. Then I realized…I’m just not into the story anymore. I still love the characters, the plot is good, but…well, the plot isn’t going as well as expected. I feel like I want to keep the prologue then scrap the whole rest of the novel. But that’s over 20,000 words…is it worth it to do in the middle of Camp? Is it wort it to do it at all?

I heard (I forget where) that you should never delete your writing whether you’re going to use it or not. Good writing is writing and bad writing is still writing. Not to mention there might be something in there that you will like later on. I hate deleting things I write because then I just feel bad. I mean, it was a good idea at the time I wrote it, right?

So I didn’t delete it, but I’m definitely not going back to the story any time soon. Which is sad because I was in love with it when I first started. I think I just need a break. Maybe next month I can get back to it. But now how am I supposed to finish Camp NaNo?

I tried writing a couple of children’s picture books…I finished one, but it sucks. I attempted to write another, but I got about two lines in and that was that. I started Hunter & Comet, the first book of a middle grade series I want to write. I wrote about a page and couldn’t get into that, either.

I looked at my list of stories to write. Maybe I just need something brand new? None of those ideas appealed to me. At the moment, anyway. And I’m afraid to start any new young adult novels because I already have four that need to be edited.

I tried writing some FanFiction. I wrote about a page then quit.

It’s about four o’clock in the afternoon, I have to get something written. I want to get something written. But it’s not going so well. And I’m afraid today is going to be a bit of a waste since I’m probably not going to have another day to write all day like this one in a long time.