One thing that has been continually bugging me about ALDEN RIDGE is that I have a prologue that really isn't a prologue at all. It's just a super-short chapter 1, because the action of what I considered the "true" chapter 1 picks right up where the prologue leaves off. My prologue was just a short scene, that's all--it wasn't back-story, or characters that I didn't plan on using for the rest of the book, or anything like that. It was just a short opening scene, and it needed to be there in order to make chapter 1 make sense (but again, not because of back story).
Well, in the end I decided to do some research and see what I could find out about prologues. The Wikipediea entry was fairly interesting for etymological purposes, but the best thing that google brought me was actually an article by Marg McAlister. Reading through her article convinced me that my prologue really isn't a prologue at all, and so I finally just renamed it to chapter 1. It's an unusually short chapter at 611 words, but my other chapters thus far are each a more standard 2.5-3K words.
What do you guys think, was this the right decision? It's a very short first chapter, but it just doesn't feel right to me to combine it with chapter 1. And since there's both expectations and a stigma about prologues, I thought it would be best to not to call it what it isn't (well, that's a good idea in general, isn't it). Thoughts?
I say just make your Chapters whatever length you make them. I've read books where chapters were just a paragraph or two before moving on to something else. It's fine.
Normally I wouldn't stress out about it at all, but since this is my FIRST chapter in this book, and it's overly short, it makes me somewhat anxious for whatever reason. But I'm sure I'm just over-analyzing it.
I agree with Rachel. The one thing I would add is that if I read a short 1st chapter I expect that it's a set-up to something coming fairly soon. Your second chapter sounds like it meets this expectation. And congratulations on your productivity! It sounds like your going great guns! C
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