Should the prologue count towards the story beats?

These are the story beats of my story:

opening image, introduction, statement of theme, catalyst, debate, b-story, new characters, midpoint, low point climax, beginning of the end, finale

I have a long prologue, but there's a lot of timeskip that details the life of the main character. I am not sure if it makes sense to make the content of the prologue count towards the story beats? What are the criteria for determining if it makes sense to do so? I am kinda divided since it's the main character.

  • 4
    Does the prologue work in the story? That's the big question. Story beats are a tool you use to develop the tale, not something enforced by the Fiction Police.
    – Mary
    Jun 28, 2022 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


A large portion of readers don't read prologues, so I wouldn't put anything in a prologue that was essential to your story beats. I would put information there that is optional, that if skipped, doesn't damage the plot integrity of your story.

  • 1
    "A large portion of readers don't read prologues," Is there any evidence for that, or is that based on your opinion/expectation? I tend to read every single word I paid for, including the blurbs and thanks (okay, I do skip the copyright page). But if there's some survey or research that can provide actual numbers, that would be awesome to include.
    – user54131
    Jun 29, 2022 at 5:44
  • 1
    I'm not aware of any formal research, but it's something I've heard said by multiple people in the publishing industry as well as something I've heard in multiple conversations with readers. I don't claim to know what the percentage of readers is, only that it's probably a significant proportion.
    – levininja
    Jun 29, 2022 at 13:05
  • 2
    FWIW, this blog has a survey in which 84% of respondents always reads prologues, and links to another survey where it's 76%. But while the prologue-skippers may not be a majority, I agree 16% is still a large part. (You definitely wouldn't want 16% of your readers leaving a bad review because your story didn't make sense without the prologue.)
    – user54131
    Jun 29, 2022 at 15:55

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