Sign up to the newsletter

Introduction or Prologue?

Hi all. Could someone please settle a difference of opinion for me? Am I right in thinking that a 'prologue' is a section of writing from a ms that is put at the beginning of a story? Where as an 'introduction' is maybe one of the characters from the story telling us something at the beginning? My friend and I are debating this point at the moment and she insists that it's the other way around.Thank you.


  1. Steve Strellet on March 15, 2019

    I’m in agreement with Jonathan although it did surprise that many readers Amy not like prologues.

    Most of my writing writing ideas are triggered by an event which has taken place some time prior to the main story and so, for me, a prologue works well.

  2. ELSIE BYRON on March 12, 2019

    Hi Jonathan. Thanks for clearing this up. I'm sure both prologues and introductions/forewords have a place in some stories but personally I don't think I would use one at the beginning of a ms. As you said it's probably best left to the end of the story instead of the start. Thanks again.

  3. Jonathan Hopkins on March 11, 2019

    I like prologues, which many readers don't apparently.

    A prologue is a part of the story which, for some reason, won't easily fit in the main narrative stream. For example, it might introduce an important (but often secondary) character who only makes an entrance late on in the story. Or it could describe an event which took place prior to the story's timeline but which affects what happens in the present narrative.
    For my second story, the prologue (the finding of a body on a beach) took place just before the epilogue (what subseqently happened to the body), with the book's narrative tracing how the body came to be there in the first place. Sounds odd, but I thought it worked ok.

    Introductions are rare in fiction, those I've seen having usually been the author explaining something of the story's background, usually fact-based. Personally I think this is better left to an Author's Note after the book's ending.

    A fictional 'introduction', rather than a prologue, ought to be more correctly called a Foreword, I'd have thought.


You must be logged in to post answers Log in