In written stories, a prologue is a section of text at the beginning of the story that has a different narrative perspective or style to the rest of the story. They can be used for setting up the world that a story takes place in, or giving information to the reader that the characters already know (or maybe don’t know), or other purposes.
In a novel, a prologue is a section of text that appears at the beginning of the book, which is like a chapter (though it is generally never called a chapter), but which is generally shorter than the other chapters in the book (though it can be the same length or even longer).
A prologue is usually different in some way to the chapters that follow it. For example, most of the chapters in a book may follow the perspective of one character – the main character – while the prologue follows the perspective of a different character. This can be true even in stories with multiple character perspectives – most of the chapters may follow the perspectives of one set of characters, while the prologue follows a different character.
A prologue might follow an omniscient perspective. This can be used to give information about the world that a story is set in, or information that all of the characters already know, but which the reader doesn’t, or information that the characters don’t know, creating dramatic irony.
A prologue might be about events that happened a long time before the main story – perhaps years, decades, or even centuries.
A prologue might be written in a different style to the rest of the story – it may be written in a certain metrical structure while the rest of the story isn’t, for example.
The main point is that a prologue appears at the beginning of a story, and is in some way different to the rest of the story.← Writing FAQs