Prologues and epilogues are a divisive topic. Some people think they’re necessary and other people think they’re just fluff. So how do you figure out if they will work for you?

I rarely use prologues; like a lot of editors and agents, I feel that a story should start at chapter one and that prologues can sometimes bog a novel down. But there are special cases where prologues are essential. You have to decide if your novel is one of those cases.

Epilogues, on the other hand, I love. I always want to know what happens to the characters at the end of a book, and an epilogue lets you give the readers a glimpse into how much the characters’ lives have or have not changed. Are epilogues always essential? No, usually they could be cut out if they had to. But because they bring a lot of joy and closure to readers, I like to use them.

The key to prologues and epilogues is keeping them short. No one likes a long, rambling intro or outro.

But most of all, the key is figuring out if prologues and epilogues fit in your story.

What are your thoughts on prologues and epilogues?