I was a guest on Blog Talk Radio. I discussed my books and what qualifies me to have written novels that deal with the paranormal. You can still hear that interview by clicking here:
I think a prologue is a great way to tease... hint... at all that is to come ! Use it to set the table so your reader will know what you are about to serve.
As a reader, I tend to be a little impatient with prologues. I'll give them a chance, but if they don't grab my interest in the first paragraph or two, I'll skip them and move onto chapter 1. (The flip side of this is that I've never rejected a book on the grounds of a prologue; the test of fire for me is always the first 3 chapters.)
As an author, I try to avoid prologues. If there's important backstory that needs to be communicated, I find other ways to bring that across in the main story.
All this being said, really in the end you have to make your own decision, whether the prologue is necessary, and whether it will help pique the interest of your reader. I'd run the prologue by critique partners or people in your writers group, and see what they say. . .
There are exceptions, but I think prologues generally don't work. Why delay the start of the novel/book? Prologues usually feel less like an "extra chapter" and more like an interruption in a story that hasn't yet begun.
One example of a prologue that does work is the one in the new novel Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
A prologue can be a great way to pique the interest of the reader as long as there's something in it that will make them want to keep reading. I've used several prologues in my books and they seemed to have done the job.
I think it depends on the intention behind the prologue and what it has to offer to the plot. I've read a few books with prologues that had no significance and could easily have done without it. I have a prologue in my book, so I don't have an issue with prologues, but I think you have to tread carefully when it comes to deciding whether or not to add one.
From my point of view, there are two types of prologue; a glimpse into the past or a history dump. If it's a glimpse into the past that is relevant to the central theme of the novel, then all is well. If it's a history dump, odds are the information contained could be sprinkled throughout the novel with no ill effect.
I've never skipped a prologue, but I have scratched my head in wonderment because I didn't find said prologue relevant to the story, at least not as intended by the writer.
Here goes . . .
I write novels. I've written screenplays, short stories, newsletters, business communications and articles. I'm not great at thank you notes. My sister is, but she doesn't know it. I'm not much for blogging. Don't have something to say worth reading everyday. But this is a blog and we'll see what turns up.