By Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
“A prologue (Greek πρόλογος prologos, from the word pro (before) and lógos, word),” Wikipedia tells us, “is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other miscellaneous information.”
In fantasy the prologue usually describes the circumstances that brought the world to its present state of disarray (i.e. the rise of the great evil our hero/heroine will have to overcome) and/or offers a prophecy about the One who will set things right. So we readers know when we meet the protagonist, he/she is the One the prophecy foretold.
A teaser, as per my definition, is a scene at the beginning of a book that ends with the protagonist’s life/quest in jeopardy. A scene we will not reach until later chapters because, after the teaser, the book goes back to an earlier time in the story.
The purpose of both, teaser and prologue, is to engage the reader in the story so that he/she will keep reading during the slower scenes the author needs to establish the world and the characters.
Although I understand the need for these two devices, as a reader I always found both prologue and teaser annoying. They were, it seemed to me, the authors’ acceptance that their first chapters were boring.
Yet, I must confess I have given in to the temptation and written a teaser for my sequel of Two Moon Princess (http://carmenferreiroesteban.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/the-king-in-the-stone-teaser/). Whether it will stay or not in the final version, I haven’t decided yet.
What about you?
Do you like teaser/prologues in your stories, as a writer and/or as a reader?