Let’s Talk Bookish: Prologues and Epilogues

Hello, and happy Friday!! This week’s been really busy, as my second full week of the school year, but overall it’s been pretty good. I’ve read an okay amount, though I’ll hopefully have more time to over the weekend. Today I actually had my library volunteer orientation, which was so exciting! I also went to my high school’s writing club today at lunch. This was the second meeting, and it was so fun!! We had a prompt and wrote short stories, and I really like how mine turned out. I might try sharing it, or one of my other short stories here sometime. I wrote a lot over the summer, a few that I’m pretty proud of!!

Anyways, this week’s LTB topic is a choose your own adventure, so I decided to go back to a pretty old topic, one that I started to write back in July, and then just let sit in my drafts for a couple months. The topic I’m going to be doing today is: prologues vs. epilogues: are they necessary? (suggested by Fives @ Down the Rabbit Hole))

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly discussion post created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and is hosted by Rukky and Dani @ A Literary Lion! For this week’s topic, I’m going to talk about my thoughts on prologues and epilogues in books!!

What’s the difference between having something as a prologue vs. a chapter 1?

A prologue is often used as a way to give information on the events of a book that aren’t able to be relayed as well through the regular perspective the reader experiences for the rest of the book.

A first chapter is more of a beginning, and really sets the stage for later events and characters and such. It is generally told from the perspective the rest of the book is told.

Is it too much to have both a prologue and epilogue?

No. They are entirely different things that serve entirely different purposes in a book. A prologue can help to set the scene for future events in a book, and an epilogue is generally used to wrap up a book, or to sometimes give a little foreshadowing for a sequel.

How does having one (or both) affect how readers perceive the story?

A prologue can impact what readers think of the story & the world in the rest of a story.

An epilogue can change how open the endings of characters are. The reader may have more to imagine without an epilogue, and with one, the epilogue can wrap up the characters stories a lot better. Sometimes it can be nice to have very open endings with characters, and to not have exact details for what exactly happens with the rest of their lives. Sometimes, it’s nice to have one because then you know what happened with the endings.

Do you think epilogues have more value because they might tie up loose ends?

If this means more value than books with no epilogues, I’d definitely no. Epilogues can be amazing, and wonderful plot devices, but a book without an epilogue isn’t automatically bad or anything.

Do prologues have more value because they can set the scene?

If this means more value than books with no prologue, then definitely no as well. Prologues can be used wonderfully in books; and can provide amazing insight into what might happen in the book. But there are many, many incredible books without prologues, and the lack of having a prologue doesn’t drag the book down.

Do you prefer having neither?

Definitely not! I really love prologues and epilogues. They for me are a way to expand how I think about a book, series or certain set of characters. A couple books who do this well are: The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street and Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo.

The entire Gilded Wolves trilogy has beautiful epilogues and prologues. They don’t necessarily make a ton of sense if you’re reading them for the first time, but give such interesting foreshadowing to plot arcs throughout the rest of the series.

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street jumps back to when the four sisters, the main characters, were very young, right around the death of their mother. It really sets the stage for the events of the book.

The Shadow and Bone trilogy is told in 1st person, however the prologues and epilogues are in 3rd person, though they do describe the goings-on of the main characters. It’s very unique, and I don’t think I’ve read a book with a prologue or an epilogue like that.

Wrapping this up…

I really loved writing this post, and I’m so glad that I finally got around to finishing it!! I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and that you liked reading this post!!

Do you like reading epilogues? What about prologues? Do you think there are times when they can be used better? Chat with me in the comments below!

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