This is the beginning- the opportunity to steal something from the readers and hold on tight- and you only get one chance to get it right. I have rewritten my prologue more than a dozen times, and over the span of a few weeks to a few months, I eventually became dissatisfied with my original line of thought and chose to discard it to start anew. Whether it be a shift in perspective, a new idea conflicting with an existing timeline, or an issue with underdeveloped characters or plots, I always manage to find something wrong with my preceding draft. You might argue that further and more detailed development is a good thing and it means that not only do the characters have room to grow, but so do I. The nagging question is, where do you draw the line? How do you know what is going to captivate the readers if the parameters in your mind are ever changing?
I believe the answer lies within what I have already assessed. Characters are designed to portray real beings with thoughts and personalities much like our own. Not every individual’s personality will be the same and some might contrast quite blatantly, but the key is change. Change is an ever-present aspect of the human life. It is the motivation that drives us to make new decisions, the explanation we give for our actions and the morphing identity we create for ourselves over time. A prologue introduces characters, settings, plot-teasers and more. While the truths of the story unfold page by page, the prologue’s purpose is to gather bits and pieces and string them into an elaborate web for the readers to admire and question. Therefore, the prologue could be a vague outline- a scattering of outcomes that require the connection of all pieces to view the whole picture- or just as well a historical background to lay the foundation for the road ahead. The options are endless. Why is it okay to write and rewrite and reconstruct your characters, timelines and events? Perhaps the answer is because they are ever changing, just as we are. You can start from the beginning, highlight the key outcomes or even start at the end, but never forget the progressive flow of development as an overarching theme.