So, this refers back to my question here. In that question I asked if the prologue to my story (the prologue occurs 17 years before most of the novel) should be cut. I have reduced the word count to 1300, and still feel it belongs, but also still hear people say "I don't like prologues."

It dawned on me that (surprise surprise) one of the main characters in the story, whose POV occurs in every alternate chapter, is present in the prologue as a baby.

Is her mere presence in the prologue enough to justify calling the prologue (a short) Ch1? Or should I try to tell the events in the prologue from the POV of an infant?

Strange question, I'm sure, but thank you in advance.

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    Are you going to have limited or omniscient POV here? Omniscient baby POV would be easy, it's like what an adult would have seen if he/she were in baby's place. For limited baby POV you would be limited to baby's perception, so this type of writing would be much more challenging. – Alexander Sep 29 '17 at 17:34
  • I thought it could be form baby's POV. Abstract, and only making sense later. But, at the moment I am just entertaining the idea. – DPT Sep 29 '17 at 21:31
  • I would say "limited baby POV" would be very challenging (comparing to "limited child POV"). Babies don't understand speech, they don't have names for things. Honestly, I've never seen it done in a literature. – Alexander Sep 29 '17 at 21:45
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    I agree. But I am wondering if it can be done in an engaging abstract way. Imagine the experience of birth and no words to describe it. then try to describe it. – DPT Sep 29 '17 at 21:47
  • Did you make an attempt? I'd say that you should consider this a goal in your life, and that you should make at least one, if not more, attempts to write such a thing. Even if none of them is ever good enough to include in any story. – can-ned_food Dec 14 '17 at 15:57

It sounds like you know you've written a prologue (events occurring 17 years before the main story), and are concerned about identifying it as one. I've not heard anyone say they don't like prologues - is it the word "prologue" or the concept they don't like? If it's the concept, renaming it "Chapter 1" won't help.

On the POV question, I would wonder why (and how) the character - who with POV becomes the narrator - is able to recall events that happened when they were an infant. It's a nice idea, and you might be able to find a good way of doing it, but there's a risk it could end up looking a bit of a gimmick.

Coming straight out and calling the prologue a prologue might give you a bit more leeway on the questions around the POV.

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    I have seen the opinion shown on this very site that some people just hate prologues and will go as far as to either not read a book with one or just skip it. Personally I find that behaviour mind boggling but there you go. – MissingPear Sep 29 '17 at 9:58
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    Thanks. It was new to me, but I'll keep an eye open for it. Do we know whether it was the word "prologue" that set them off (ie. could it have been hidden as Chapter 1)? – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Sep 29 '17 at 11:46
  • :-) You are now understanding what it is that I am trying to figure out! Also, some publishers or agents evidently don't like them. There are two recent discussions inc. the one I linked in the 1st Q that discuss it. – DPT Sep 29 '17 at 13:44

I think it depends on how old your baby is. I have written quite extensively from the point of view of a toddler (interpreting what the parents do from his point of view, supposedly), but a baby does have a rather limited world view and ability to communicate and so I am not sure how you could make it work. That is not to say you can't.

As an alternative, include the 'prologue' as chapter two or three.

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  • Thank you for the thoughts. I might try making it a chapter. – DPT Sep 29 '17 at 21:31
  • I have seen this done as a sort of flashback: get the reader involved in the story and then take a little time to tell the backstory after you have them hooked. – S. Mitchell Sep 30 '17 at 9:42

Maybe instead of a prologue you could make it a "home video" which is supposed to document a moment of this baby's life, which they are going to watch at a later point in your story.

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  • I think this doesn't work for the period. I want to avoid flashbacks, too. – DPT Sep 29 '17 at 21:31

One of the most surprising, intriguing narrators I have seen was a baby (Saga - Graphic Novels). I think it was fantastic and far more gripping than a prologue.

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  • I appreciate your comment. It has made me think I should at least try this, and compare to what I currently have. A baby's POV could be fantastic - We were all there, but none of remember. So there could be something gripping to read it. – DPT Sep 29 '17 at 21:32
  • You should provide more detail with such an answer. Who is this baby? Who wrote it? Give us an example or two. – can-ned_food Dec 14 '17 at 15:38
  • Furthermore, if it was narrated graphically — as you seem to indicate, — then it can't much be considered as an example of strict literature. It certainly would be much easier to show a pre–lingual infant's POV with images — probably impressionistic — than with words. – can-ned_food Dec 14 '17 at 15:55

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