How Long Should A Prologue Be (And Why)?

Exact Answer: One To Three Pages

A prologue, often spelled as prolog, is referred to the opening part of a play, story, novel, film, or poem. The prologue introduces and establishes the situation and provides the background details of the story. Sometimes prologue is also used to connect a story or poem with its sequel.

The prologue was historically used in various plays, and the prologue was introduced mainly through a person who was not part of the play. Prologues are widely used in describing romantic scenarios as it is an excellent poetic attire to add a backdrop to a romantic story to keep the reader interested from the beginning.

How Long Should A Prologue Be?

Prologues are used in non-dramatic fiction. Various poets and storytellers use various poetic tools while writing the prologue. It is often a good practice to not make a prologue too long or too complex for the reader to understand as the reader can get bored and may leave the story or poem in between. It is a writer’s job to connect the reader with the account as there are many poems and stories available for reading, and no one likes to read something very unprofessional.

When a reader reads the first part of a story or the first stanza of a poem, the reader expects to settle in the story. Also, it can be challenging for a reader to understand if something new is added in the middle of the story, and it may divert the reader from the main context of the story. Prologues are also used to provide miscellaneous information about the story. An epilogue is the opposite of a prologue and is used at the end part to give a few finishing touches to the story.

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Type Of WritingLength Of Prologue
PoemAt most, one age
StoryAt most, two pages
NovelTwo to three pages

A prologue is usually short, and a poem contains a prologue of not more than one page. Stories are generally longer than poems, and a story’s prologue must not exceed two pages. The prologue of a novel is slightly longer as novels are very long, and it is crucial to introduce the story properly to the reader; therefore, it is two to three pages long.

Why Is A Prologue That Long?

The prologue’s length depends on the writer’s perspective and what the writer wants to convey as introductory information to the reader. A few writers often like to keep the prologue a bit twisted to generate more interest in the story. Nowadays, most stories or poems start with a scene from a critical juncture of the story, and then the remaining story is told in the flashback. This trend has now become a common practice among writers.

Sometimes, the writer introduces the perception of a third person and then presents the story. Writers feel that this is a proper way to let the reader think from the writer’s perspective as an introduction by any of the main characters of a story might be biased. Personification is also widely used in a prologue as a writer sometimes tends to dictate the story with the help of an object or substance, and thus they personify it.

It is not considered good practice to give a lot of information in the prologue as it lengthens the prologue and makes the story very dull. It is also crucial to introduce only those parts in the prologue which will take place in the story, as many writers write a prologue to create an atmosphere for the story. Still, the prologue never really comes in the story.

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Conclusion

Overall, it can be concluded that a prologue is used to introduce a story or poem to a reader. It is also used to connect a story with its sequel. It is up to the writer to decide how long the prologue should be, but it is usually kept very short. On average, a prologue is one to three pages long, depending on the content.

Writers also use personification in the prologue very often. An extended prologue generally makes the story dull, and it is not advised to give a lot of insights about what to follow in the prologue.

References

  1. http://oro.open.ac.uk/3579/
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