View Full Version : Critique: Iliad - Prologue

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

Pages : [1] 2

February 23rd, 2005, 11:50 PM
Although I have posted a couple of times about my general dislike for prologues, I was thinking of having one myself. I am writing a story based loosely on the Iliad, expect it is set in fantasy type setting.

Here (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/288p0.html) is my first crack at the prologue.

Its very short (about one page). I'd be happy to hear any and all critique (both good and bad). One thing I am interested in knowing is, given that one page, would you be more or less likely to start reading the next page (i.e. chapter 1).



February 24th, 2005, 12:43 AM
It is short, like you've said.
But I think it's effective to a point. It does make me want to continue reading.

To answer your question, I have been tempted to skip prologues, but I never have.
I don't think you have to worry about people skipping to page one because of it's length. :)
Hopefully someone with a little more knowledge in the subject of your story can help more ;)

February 24th, 2005, 01:31 AM
I tend to dislike a prologue if it doesn't have any purpose.

Yes, what you have is short.

Yes, I would read on. There is a definite feeling there, and a well-defined style.

You are the writer, do you think it's enough? If you are not comfortable with it, keep working with it until you are. I personally would consider adding just a bit at the beginning, some kind of setting; Is it dark, bright, hot, cold? Maybe something about how the point of view feels.--but that would not be required. As far as I know there is no rule about how long a prologue has to be. (Though I guess something really short may end up in italics between the large number "1" and the first paragraph of chapter one :cool: )


February 24th, 2005, 01:59 AM
It's short.

I like the pleading tone it had and I am a little curious but I've no idea who's saying it or why its important.

February 24th, 2005, 02:22 AM
It actually sounds more like a character's thoughts that he was putting into words, than a prologue.

Or the words of a Muse or Oracle. It does have a poetic style.

Is the main work going to be written like this? If so it would I feel be hard for your average reader to deal with over a long period.

It would work in sections say as teasers or a perhaps harking back to a Bard telling the tale.

Prologues are funny things, written them myself for all my work and in the end have removed them. I have found the prologue sets the mood for me, hints at things I want the story to contain or the path in which it is going. Once the story is done I find I don't need the prologue. It either gets made into the first chapter or deleted.

February 24th, 2005, 06:23 AM
Or shall I lay strapped and held
While rusted teeth open
the skin of my arms and
cold hands open
my thighs
in experiment?

The peom-ish way you wrote this I don't really like.
The wording to me is totally confusing because to me it sounds like it should be two sentences rather then in the style you wrote it.

The prologue is intriguing enough to keep a reader reading so I dont want to give you the same words everyone else does other than 8/10

February 24th, 2005, 06:29 AM
I've never understood a reader's dislike of prologues, who cares if the author calls it a prologue or chapter one, the story starts with the first word. If it wasn't important why would it be in the book... I've just decided that I dislike chapter twelves, I am going to skip them from now on :rolleyes:

But onto your prologue Michael.

To me, it would seem better if it was clear that someone was either saying or thinking those words. Either show me who it is or state it is someone's diary or speech.

At the moment, it doesn't urge me to read on but it doesn't repel me either, it is somewhere in-between. If someone was on their knees screaming that stuff at the sky or at a statue, whatever, I would want to know what was eating them.

February 24th, 2005, 09:41 AM
Wow, what a nice treat to wake up to this morning!

I didn't realize I would get so many replies so quickly. What I was trying to go for here, was as little setting as possible. Just a nameless, faceless, being and her thoughts. Later in the story it will be revealed who the character speaking is.


The entire story will not be written this way, only the prologue, and perhaps an interlude or two.


Although I am trying to go as minimal as possible, I think I do need to add a bit more here. Temperature, smells, etc.


I am actually not sure if the words are being spoken or thought. Its a prayer of sorts, a prayer for rescue. As such I think it is more thought than spoken. I will work on this more.


I confess, I am not much of a poet. I will be looking at the lines again, and will take your thoughts to heart.

Thanks again all


February 24th, 2005, 10:23 AM
Then you should title it as such and for me, it adds a totally different feel to the prologue... a pretty powerful one.


A Prayer of Rescue

February 24th, 2005, 10:25 AM
I've never understood a reader's dislike of prologues, who cares if the author calls it a prologue or chapter one, the story starts with the first word. If it wasn't important why would it be in the book... I've just decided that I dislike chapter twelves, I am going to skip them from now on :rolleyes:

Well then, I will be sure to go straight from chapter 11 to chapter 13! :)

Personally, I have never thought of prologues as just "Chapter 0" in a book. They tend not to involve characters who will be featured in the main story, and are often used purely for foreshadowing. The problem, that I see, especially with long prologues is, that they unnecessarily delay the action of the main story. My feeling is "let's get going already!". Prologues can also sometimes be thin veils behind which the author attempts to dump large amounts of backstory.