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What Are the Different Types of Prologues?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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A prologue is an introductory portion of a piece of literature. Some prologues may begin by giving the reader background information that is pertinent to the story. Other types, however, may give the reader future information, and the story will eventually lead up to the events described in the prologue. A prologue may also be written in a different point of view than the rest of the story.

Writers sometimes use prologues to introduce a piece of literature. All types of prologues are typically similar to short stories, but they tie into the bigger story that follows. These are commonly found at the beginning of novels.

Historical prologues are one of the four main types of prologues, and these typically give background information about the setting of a story. These can be used to describe recent or distant past events. Stories that are set in a different time or place may benefit from these types of prologues, and they are often used in historical or science fiction novels.

Another one of the more common types of prologues that describes past events is the past protagonist prologue. This type of prologue describes an important event that happened to the protagonist in the past. Writers use this type of prologue to help readers understand why the protagonist is the way he is. For example, if a writer begins a story about a one legged man, readers will most likely be confused as to why he only has one leg. Instead, the writer can create a short prologue describing the accident in which the protagonist lost his leg.

Other prologues may also be set in the future, instead of the past. These types of prologues usually describe events that take place after the main plot of the story. The events described can either happen after the entire story or somewhere near the middle or end of the story. Readers are then usually intrigued enough to continue reading the story to find out why these events happened.

Some prologues also offer a different point of view than the rest of the story. These can be set in either in the past or the present, but they must offer a different character's point of view, other than the protagonist. They will often give reader information that the protagonist does not find out until later. These are typically more common in crime or mystery novels, and they are usually written from the point of view of the criminal.

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