So I want to write a book that's set in a very different and otherworldly world, so I thought about it and I was wondering if it was ok to put a lot of things into context. However, I think I went a little bit too far considering that the prologue is more than half the length of the entire novel. Is this ok?

I am thinking it's fine, because the world is soo different, but is there a golden rule for determining the length of a prologue, and not whether I should write one obviously? How long should it be?

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    Does it mean that your prologue has no active character? How does it relate to the main story, with others characters? Can the characters of the main story learn about the events in the prologue in any other way than "it happened as this"?
    – kikirex
    Mar 3, 2019 at 14:53
  • I am asking for the length, not whether I should write a prologue at all.
    – Sayaman
    Mar 3, 2019 at 15:27
  • >50% of the novel does not sound like a "prolog", it sounds like the first half of a 2-part novel. Is there no story or protagonist in this section? Does the POV or timeframe change significantly?
    – wetcircuit
    Mar 3, 2019 at 17:12
  • No, it's just a description of the world.
    – Sayaman
    Mar 3, 2019 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


You have extensive world-building. That's good. You need all that. All of it. The reader does not. If you spend half the length of the story just building a world for me I am not going to finish. It is just too much. A reasonable prologue to me is at most the length of a chapter and ideally shorter. Much shorter. But there's good news. All that effort was not for nothing. Now when you are writing your story you will be intimately aware of the history of your world and you will be able to share it better. You can also incorporate all that world-building throughout the novel as the story develops. This will be more seamless and be easier to digest than a huge back-story before you even get to the story.

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