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Archives: Epilogues

I Hate Prologues

I Hate Prologues

For various reasons I was reminded this week that I said exactly that or something close to that or something related to that during a class discussion at the MFA Program.  It’s a good thing there is no record of those Warren Wilson classes.

In fact, what I said was likely closer to the idea that most prologues were a really bad idea.  The subject of the class was narrative engines, and I argued against the kind of narrative that offers you a brief moment of heightened narrative energy only to have you turn the page and discover chapter one, which circles back to the build up to what you have just read.  What you have just read shows up again somewhere around Chapter Four.  Chapters One, Two and Three contain all the stuff the novelist believes (falsely) that you need to know before you get to Chapter Four.  Which (if he/she would just give up all that wonderfully written but unnecessary exposition) should be the actual opening of the book.

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