Thursday, 2 February 2017

Chuckles Chat #3: The Prologue Spoiler

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

This week I'm going to talk about The Prologue Spoiler. Y'know, when we get the MC in a current or future situation and after a few pages we are left on a cliffhanger and get transported back months or years to way before the prologue event?  I have never enjoyed this. I hate seeing hints of things to come later in the book and much prefer to find things out as we go along. That is a personal preference though and lets face it, prologues can be good or bad, depending on how they are used.

Lets start with when a prologue can be good:
-we get a look at the earlier event that sets the scene for where we start the book ie we see the heroic death of a character who we don't see in the main book but is mentioned because that dying deed was vitally important to current situation

-we get full action story on how characters met ie showing how an animal saves a humans life, and is now their faithful companion when we join them for main story

You get the picture, right? Those are examples of a prologue being used to give you extra information in an action scene instead of resorting to a big info dump about it once the book proper starts. It kick starts the book with something exciting and important and then jumps right to the current story, avoiding slow introductions etc. I like when a book does that. 

But a new trend in books I'm reading is using the prologue to give you a big fat spoiler about something that will happen in the book. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS? WHY? WHY spoil the story for me??? Recently I had a zombie book that showed a character die in the prologue and then started the main book with the incident leading to the death. Why do the prologue at all when that character dies 15 pages later??? Pointless! Another zombie book tells of the death of this guy's whole family in a scene where he is thinking about it. We go straight to him in chapter one receiving a call for help from his family and him going over to the house. Again, there was no tension or wondering what happens because you already know they are dead! I hate these spoilers so much!

There was a book that showed a group of climbers at a funeral, all crying and it mentioned two men and two women at the grave. Prologue ends, book starts with three men and two women doing the climb. Straight away you know one of the three men dies. Book put the two women in dangerous situations they barely escape from but you already KNOW they weren't going to die so it was not very exciting. When the character dies halfway through there is still the battle to get the body down the mountain but you KNOW the others survive so there was no fear or worry for them. Had that prologue not been there, that book would have been full of excitement and tension, not knowing if any would survive! This makes the difference for me when choosing a star rating for that book, giving it 2 instead of 4!

Do you like any kind of prologue? Does it bother you seeing a spoiler in the prologue or does it make you want to read the book more? Does a prologue spoiler affect your star rating when you review the book?

18 comments:

  1. I hate those kinds of prologues, not even because they're spoilers but because they're stupid. I agree that prologues can definitely have a use and show something important, but it's these types of scene-from-later things that give prologues a bad rap, and so lots of people have just started skipping prologues, which then screws things up for the authors who use them properly.

    But anyway, yeah, these types of prologues either spoil something and ruin the tension that could've been in the book, or they just make no sense because you have no context and don't know any of the characters or understand what's happening. They're pointless.

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    1. I can understand people deciding to skip prologues in case of spoilers. I just want to ask these authors why they want to ruin the story for fans by putting spoilers in prologues...I don't see what they get out of it! If I was writing books I wouldn't be using them. That's what chapter one is for!

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    2. Yeah but when people skip prologues, they might be missing vital information if it's a legitimate, useful prologue. And so it sucks for authors that use them correctly that other authors are ruining things by abusing prologues -_-

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  2. Great post :) I personally really dislike prologues; most of the time they're so unnecessary, and the spoilers they often give just make me mad! Yes, they can have a place in the story, but on the whole they're mostly an inconvenience.

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. No to spoilers! I am sometimes tempted to skip them but as Kristen correctly pointed out, some authors do use them correctly and you might miss out on something important if you avoid it. We can't win!

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  3. hahahaha! I SO agree with you Chuckles! Some prologues are terrible. They are suppose to be just a sublet foreshadow. You made me remember the Twilight prologue when you already know she is going to "nearly die". LOL! It didn't bother me that much then but other have indeed bothered me. MY WIP has a prologue that OF COURSE I thought was FABULOUS. Now you are making me doubt it LOL Great Post!

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    1. I don't get why the author does it. You've already bought the book and plan to read it so let us get to the dramatic bit without ruining it! Gah! I do remember getting annoyed by it in the Twilight books. Mind you, you always knew Bella would find trouble!

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  4. I agree with your thoughts. Prologues that explain some backstory but do not give spoilers usually add substance to the story and don't spoil much. However, the type you mentioned which drive you crazy would do the same to me. Really now, what's the purpose. It's almost like an author thought "This is how it's going to end so now let's figure out how to get there" and published the whole thought process. Great discussion.

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    1. I'd like to ask the authors about this and bully them into submission over it...

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  5. I kind of agree, I can do without a lot of prologues for the reasons you mention. Absolutely. Someone who I think does good prologues is George RR Martin- the prologue for Game of thrones is chilling (pun intended) as it shows the whole reason for the series (and you've seen the show so you know what I mean- not really a spoiler). Although it's done a little different. The other thing he does is he has a system I guess- his prologues and epilogues are usually a POV that is not shows anywhere else, and ofteh that POV dies in the prologue/ epilogue. But it information you can't really get anywhere else. And now I'll stop with the Martin lol.

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    1. Those kinds of prologues I could certainly cope with, when it is used to learn important things. This is probably a good example of it being used properly. I'm so intrigued to get started on the books...

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  6. I have read a few books where the prologue spoiler was well done. I usually would say I am not a fan of it, but there are definitely exceptions/ books that do handle it well.

    And indeed there are books where prologues work great, like the examples you mention. I don't remember a lot of books with prologues and most of the books I can remember did the prologue okay enough and gave some extra info. But with those two books you mention where a character dies in the prologue and only pages or chapter slater in the book, does make me wonder why the author added the prologue then. And spoiler prologues sure can remove some of the tension or suspense form a book. Great post!

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    1. I seem to set them a lot in the apocalypse genre which can often be frustrating if not used well. I never like to know or have hints about what is coming up...I like seeing it as it happens. It looks like the majority of us could happily live without the prologue!

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  7. I am a bit torn about this. I have read books where this kind of prologue works well. I have also read books where I wondered why they wanted to spoil everything. I guess it depends on how the book reads with that kind of knowledge beforehand.

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    1. It's a bit of a mixed bag isn't it? When you open the book and see prologue there is a feeling of dread that a spoiler could be coming or equally, a great reveal!

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  8. Prologues are difficult to add as it is. To give the prologue like in your zombie book, no way. There are a few I've read that are wonderful and really bring a curiosity to a world I'm getting to know. There are some that confuse the hell out of me and make no sense. They just show something that I don't understand and don't start me off well with the book.

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    1. Totally agree-if you are going to use prologues use them to add to the experience of the reader, not spoil or confuse!

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