Logues, pro and epi

Past topics in Rhobin’s Rounds

My Ascending Spiral didn’t have a Prologue at first. It just started in 805 AD, a story told in the voice of Padraig, a shepherd boy on an island near the Irish coast. But one of my beta readers told me, “Bob, all of this is Pip’s story. All the various lives are Pip’s lives, so actually he is doing all the storytelling. It needs another bit, right at the front to show this.”

Brilliant. I thanked her, and did as she suggested. And, perhaps, the Prologue to Ascending Spiral is my best writing. It grabs people, and has in and of itself made me friends.


But one day, another friend idly picked up the book, riffled right through the Prologue, and started reading Padraig’s part. I found this almost painful: she was completely ignoring my masterpiece. So, I pulled her up on it.

Her answer? “I never bother with Prologues and Forewords and things, just start at the real story.”

I told her it was part of the real story, so she said, it shouldn’t be called a prologue then.

I’ve done a 2016 revision of this book. In that, my introductory section is titled, “The gift of the healer” instead of “Prologue.”

My soon to be released 16th book, Hit and Run had a prologue for much of its existence as a draft. After my negative experience with the word, I called it all sorts of other things — and eventually cut it out altogether. I think the book is improved by simply launching into the story. However, it does have an epilogue. Only, I don’t call it that. The title is, “Could this be true?”

Mind you, I have no negative evidence regarding epilogues. I would hope that by the time a reader got that far into my book, s/he would read every word, even if it was labelled “Whatever you do, don’t read this!”

Please leave a comment, then read the offerings of the other writers in this round robin — and leave them a comment too.

Margaret Fieland

Skye Taylor

Rhobin Courtright

Marci Baun

A.J. Maguire

Diane Bator

Victoria Chatham

Anne Stenhouse

Helena Fairfax

Beverley Bateman

Connie Vines

Rachael Kosinski

Kay Sisk

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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16 Responses to Logues, pro and epi

  1. J.Q. Rose says:

    Very clever to leave out the word prologue and disguise it with another title! I chuckled at telling the reader not to read something. I believe that may be a great title to use actually. I know it’s in my DNA if someone tells me NOT to read a passage, I WILL read it!
    JQ Rose


    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you for visiting, and leaving a comment, Janet. Had a look at your blog, and like what you do. I also approve of ethical writing. Above all, do no harm. If you can, do good. If you can’t change the situation until you can.


  2. Margaret Fieland says:

    Bob, I’m tickled by the idea of labeling a chapter “Don’t Read This.” {grin}


  3. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Of course, I can use wicked trickery and dishonestly, in an evil way, just rename the prologue.


  4. okwriter says:

    A good post. I believe your comment from the reader -… I never bother with Prologues and Forewords and things, just start at the real story.” says the reader expects the story to start at the inciting incident. Epilogues tend to be better received.


  5. Victoria Chatham says:

    Like Rhobin, I think a prologue should contain something crucial that sets the book up. Sounds like you worked yours out well.


  6. Skye-writer says:

    I love your idea of labeling it something other than prologue or epilogue. I had at least one reader skip the epilogue in my first book and it distressed me that he put the book down thinking I’d killed off my hero because he didn’t read “epilogues” – Now if I’d called it – “everything works out in the end, or something like that he’d have read it. I’m going to take your advice in the future.


  7. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Thank you, Rhobin. Perhaps your attitude, and Marci’s, and mine are because we are writers, and have an insight into the reasons for different components of a story.


  8. Rhobin says:

    Interesting. I read the prologue to Ascending Spiral. I always figure if the author inserted a prologue or an epilogue, it had to be important. I’ve occasionally been disappointed in ‘logues,’ 🙂 but not in yours.


  9. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Thanks Marci.
    Yes. No accounting for people’s “common sense.” My attitude when reading is, if the author put it in there, I at least want to find out why.
    But if there is a prejudice against a label, we can step around it.
    Free logues!
    (But then, I don’t charge for mine.)


  10. wildchild says:

    One of my friends was telling me that she rarely reads the epilogue. She wants the story to be done when it’s done. However, when she read one of my books that has an epilogue (less than a page), she didn’t have any problem with it. I think if epilogues are overly long, it becomes an issue. (I know it does for me.) Ending a book isn’t easy, especially once you’ve hit that climatic scene. You know you need to bring the readers down gently, but you can’t take too long or they’ll be dissatisfied. It’s really tricky. I also believe that prologues should be short. Long gone are the days where authors can write 20 page prologues and get away with it.



  11. Dr. Bob – I used an epilogue in one of my books which perhaps, like most epilogues, could have also served as a last chapter, but I like to believe that it enhanced the story in a way it would not have as a chapter. I’m still mulling that one over. I also did a prologue in another book but believe that one was necessary to establish certain facts about the story’s plot. I think both ‘logues’ can be useful as long as they are not too long.


    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thanks for the comment, Tony. I agree with you. As I said, my problem is the people who skip such things because “they are not part of the story.”

      As you implied, by convention a prologue can be telling, giving preliminary facts. We just have to sugarcoat it.


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