Author Topic: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION  (Read 1209 times)  

Offline Dean Kutzler

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 140
  • Gender: Male
  • Philadelphia
  • Holy Space Opera - The Scarab Reign's Coming!
    • View Profile
    • Philadelphia's Thriller Author Dean Kutzler
Hey guys! I'm launching a new space opera in the spring and a few of my beta readers had said the beginning chapter should be a prologue. I've written in the thriller genre, and mostly prologues are taboo. At least what I've learned.

I know that sci-fi readers are a different breed, less concerned with editing issues, etc. So, I'm wondering if you guys could help me out and give me your thoughts, opinions and experiences.

 :D
Space Opera Trilogy: 29%

Valentine\'s Day Surprise, A Roman Mystery: 80%

Jack Elliot Series Book 3: 0%
Holy Space Opera - The Scarab Reign is Coming! Grab Your Batteries And Hide!
Dean Kutzler | Website | Blog | Reader's Group | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | Goodreads

Offline Deke

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1309
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 09:01:02 AM »
I am launching my own space opera "Machine" and it has a prologue. But in my case, the prologue is an event with a different character set hundreds of years before the bulk of the novel. IMHO that's how prologues work best. They are the spark that lights a fire.

Dale Kutzera | Website

Offline kw3000

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 738
  • Rocky Mountains
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 09:06:09 AM »
Not an expert by any stretch, so take this for what it's worth, but I've never understood prologues. Start the story at Chapter 1. If you have backstory, sprinkle it in as you progress. Often I feel authors include prologues because they see 'x' successful author use them. All well and good I suppose, to each their own, but I think they're a waste of time. Just get on with things. Again, not an expert, just a dude with an opinion.  8)

Ken Ward

Offline sceptique

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 99
    • View Profile
    • "The Commander's Daughter" (HARVIE Book One)
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 09:32:56 AM »
No matter how you call it, it is still the opening chapter of your story, so it needs to be a well-written, engaging read and not an infodump. Worldbuilding is one of the key sklls for sci-fi writers - you may want to consult a few how-to books specific for this genre.
Rule of thumb is - get the story going and introduce the world in the process.

(Shameless self-promo: you may want to check the opening sequence in the sample chapter I have on KS right now - it used to be a prologue, but my tutors convinced me to try and build it into Chapter 1 narrative. I turned it into flashback to set apart from the main storyline.)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 01:56:00 PM by sceptique »
Kindle Scout campaign -
"The Commander's Daughter" (HARVIE Book One)
https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3S650OYOVGEFS

Offline AliceS

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 581
  • Gender: Female
  • Asheville, NC
    • View Profile
    • Website
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 11:29:18 AM »
If the beta readers said it should be a prologue that means they felt it was separate from the main story. In that case - is it necessary?

As a reader, I usually skip prologues because I want the meat of the story right away and I assume it's some political/philosophical nonsense that the writer thought he needed.

So I'd take a good look at the first chapter and see why it put them off.


Science Fiction, Fantasy and Mystery
Alice Sabo | Blog | Facebook | Website

Offline Joshua Dalzelle

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 494
  • Gender: Male
  • Cincinnati, OH
    • View Profile
    • My Amazon page...
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 12:11:28 PM »
If you have information that your reader will need for context that your POV character(s) aren't aware of it can be useful. By not calling it "Chapter 1" it can also more easily let readers know that the information they're getting is related, but separate from the story. I've used it when there are events on the timeline that are far behind or far ahead of where the story takes place. This isn't really a helpful answer but I'd say use your instincts to determine whether you need to impart certain information before the story starts or if it's something that can be divulged as it progresses.

Offline Dean Kutzler

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 140
  • Gender: Male
  • Philadelphia
  • Holy Space Opera - The Scarab Reign's Coming!
    • View Profile
    • Philadelphia's Thriller Author Dean Kutzler
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 12:22:07 PM »
I'd say use your instincts to determine whether you need to impart certain information before the story starts or if it's something that can be divulged as it progresses.

Thanks, Joshua. This (and also everyone's input) is very helpful I should've explained the situation a little better, but this hits it.

The current world (and story) I want to tell is the result of something that happened in the past. I didn't want to focus on the past by building it into the story. The bad event already happened and I may do a short story of it, but I really didn't want to clog up the action of this book.

But...it's essential for the world (and reader) to know, so it's a small info dump. I spread it out a little so it wasn't so "dump"  :P ! LOL! Had to say it!

So I researched a little and found that most sci-fi readers don't mind the prologue. Think the scrolling screen at the beginning of Star Wars and how they almost comically did it with every story thereafter like a joke. It caught the reader up to the point where the actual story being written is where it starts. If I were to write it in naturally, it would first be boring or would have to be a flashback, which I don't do. It's too much to fit into casual convo with my characters, so... I was thinking prologue.
Space Opera Trilogy: 29%

Valentine\'s Day Surprise, A Roman Mystery: 80%

Jack Elliot Series Book 3: 0%
Holy Space Opera - The Scarab Reign is Coming! Grab Your Batteries And Hide!
Dean Kutzler | Website | Blog | Reader's Group | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | Goodreads

Offline Mercedes Vox

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 303
    • View Profile
    • Mercedes Vox - Romance Provocateur
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 01:02:56 PM »
The current world (and story) I want to tell is the result of something that happened in the past. I didn't want to focus on the past by building it into the story. The bad event already happened and I may do a short story of it, but I really didn't want to clog up the action of this book.

But...it's essential for the world (and reader) to know, so it's a small info dump.

Too many times I've seen the "sprinkling" of important past events into early narrative accomplished by a) the main character's internal monologue in situations where a person wouldn't typically or naturally have cause to be thinking of historical events, and/or b) using dialogue between the main character and another character in "You know, Bob, . . . . " fashion. Those are much more ::)-inducing for me than any prologue could be.

Sometimes I think the writerly ire regarding prologues has fallen into that same trap where an author writes twisty, awkward, yoga sentences in order to completely avoid using the word "was." I see nothing wrong with a well-written prologue that helps to plop me into the action knowing a little bit about the framework of the world I'm entering, particularly in a space opera.

If you're concerned that the very word "Prologue" will trigger the venom, call it Chapter 1 and give it a date stamp (either precise or "xxxx years ago . . . .). Then give Chapter 2 a date stamp (either precise or "Present day . . . .)." Stealth prologue. I don't think readers who aren't writers really give a rat's behind.


Romance provocateur. Manic stealth author. Fearless gourmet. An epicurean anarchist relentlessly in pursuit of a foolproof cure for ennui. Committed (thrice).
Mercedes Vox writes short stories, novellas, and novels with characters running the gamut of human sexual orientations and gender identities. Mercedes resides in a quaint seaside town on Cape Cod with a loving partner and a small menagerie of bossy critters. Take note that chickens are smarter than you think.
Mercedes Vox | Website | Twitter

Offline Jeff Tanyard

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2405
  • Gender: Male
  • Georgia
  • Wait and hope.
    • View Profile
    • My Blog
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 01:41:36 PM »
I am launching my own space opera "Machine" and it has a prologue. But in my case, the prologue is an event with a different character set hundreds of years before the bulk of the novel. IMHO that's how prologues work best. They are the spark that lights a fire.


This.  The Eye of the World, for example, has a prologue of that sort, and I happen to like it a lot.


I know that sci-fi readers are a different breed, less concerned with editing issues, etc.


I'm not sure what you mean by this, but it sounds like you're insulting your target audience.  If that's not your intent, then you might want to clarify it a bit.
            v  v  v   Short Stories   v  v  v                   Anthology       vvv FREE! vvv
        
Jeff Tanyard | Author Website

Offline Guy Riessen

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
    • View Profile
    • Guy Riessen Author of Dark Fiction
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 02:21:18 PM »
I spread it out a little so it wasn't so "dump"  :P ! LOL! Had to say it!

So I researched a little and found that most sci-fi readers don't mind the prologue. Think the scrolling screen at the beginning of Star Wars
[/quote]

Be careful about "spread[ing]it out" because the reason why they were able to initially get away with it in Star Wars: A New Hope is because it was a very tiny part of the whole movie experience.  It was, in fact, just three paragraphs. And the main reason why they could do it in any of the following movies is because they did it in the first one.

Guy Riessen | website

Offline Dean Kutzler

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 140
  • Gender: Male
  • Philadelphia
  • Holy Space Opera - The Scarab Reign's Coming!
    • View Profile
    • Philadelphia's Thriller Author Dean Kutzler
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2018, 02:35:50 PM »
I'm not sure what you mean by this, but it sounds like you're insulting your target audience.  If that's not your intent, then you might want to clarify it a bit.

Oh no, not at all and I don't see how my comment does that. But through the research I've done, genres have different types of readers. For instance, readers of space opera aren't as concerned with the science behind things as their counter part audience, hardcore science fiction readers want solid or at least plausible explanations on how things work.

I've read from many successful author in the space opera community that their readers rarely call out their typos, grammar mistakes and such, because they are more into the story. Now, if you miss hitting any tropes in space opera, they're all over it and you'll see lower starred reviews.

That is all I meant and hope that clarifies my comment. I don't want to anger the audience with a prologue if it isn't what they're expecting. I want them to keep reading and if they roll their eyes at prologues, that won't happen.

There are some great ideas above that I'll have to think over. :D
Space Opera Trilogy: 29%

Valentine\'s Day Surprise, A Roman Mystery: 80%

Jack Elliot Series Book 3: 0%
Holy Space Opera - The Scarab Reign is Coming! Grab Your Batteries And Hide!
Dean Kutzler | Website | Blog | Reader's Group | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | Goodreads

Offline randallcfloyd

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 02:45:56 PM »
I use prologues when the beginning of my story is a little bit slow to set up the ordinary world. It is always some kind of genre-specific scene that let the readers know right off the bat that the story is right for them. It could be an action scene, a tragic scene. The question I always ask when I am considering a prologue is "Will this pay off in a big way at some point in the story?" If not, I either write a different prologue or find some way to spice up the first chapter of my story.

Another way to look at a prologue is as an insurance policy. If it's gripping, well-written, and really sparks a lot of interest, your readers will be more than willing to stick with you an extra chapter or two longer than a slow first chapter.

Online ShayneRutherford

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3707
  • Toronto, Ontario
    • View Profile
    • My Website
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 02:45:57 PM »
Could you make the prologue less infodump and more an actual scene showing the info you want? The more action and dialogue you have in there, the less people will care that you have a prologue.
     

Offline randallcfloyd

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2018, 02:51:00 PM »
Just to add a little bit more here ... think about it from a reader's perspective. They are going to assume that you put the prologue in there for a reason. You need to know what that reason is, and you need to make sure you deliver.

It's going to be their first impression of your book, and it's going to stick with them, especially if it nails the genre tropes. It's going to sit there in the back of their mind, because all of your readers are going to, consciously or subconsciously, come to some conclusion about why you put that stinking prologue in there. If you don't deliver at some point in the book, the reader is never going to have that "AH-HA" moment where your reasons for putting in there in the first place are made patently clear ...

I should probably stop right there - or I might be typing for a while.

Offline Jeff Tanyard

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2405
  • Gender: Male
  • Georgia
  • Wait and hope.
    • View Profile
    • My Blog
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2018, 03:03:46 PM »
Oh no, not at all and I don't see how my comment does that. But through the research I've done, genres have different types of readers. For instance, readers of space opera aren't as concerned with the science behind things as their counter part audience, hardcore science fiction readers want solid or at least plausible explanations on how things work.

I've read from many successful author in the space opera community that their readers rarely call out their typos, grammar mistakes and such, because they are more into the story. Now, if you miss hitting any tropes in space opera, they're all over it and you'll see lower starred reviews.

That is all I meant and hope that clarifies my comment. I don't want to anger the audience with a prologue if it isn't what they're expecting. I want them to keep reading and if they roll their eyes at prologues, that won't happen.

There are some great ideas above that I'll have to think over. :D


Gotcha.  Thanks for clarifying.   :)
            v  v  v   Short Stories   v  v  v                   Anthology       vvv FREE! vvv
        
Jeff Tanyard | Author Website

Offline Jack Krenneck

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 720
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2018, 03:09:36 PM »
Prologues are fine. Even infodumps are fine. The key is to make them hooky. If they're not hooky, then they won't work. Then again, a standard chapter 1 that isn't hooky won't work either.

As usual, success is more about an effective use of a particular technique than the technique in itself.

Just my 2 cents.

Offline C. Gold

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2256
    • View Profile
    • Golden Elm Publishing
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2018, 04:37:09 PM »
My fantasy novel uses a prologue since that event took place many years in the past and was the setup for the whole story. However, I put the reader right in the event as it happened instead of rattling off some dry 'one thousand years ago a terrible event happened that blah blah'. I think readers became leery of prologues because too many authors feel the need to put dry history of the world infodumps there. And nobody wants to read that no matter what label the chapter has.

Offline Jena H

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 6749
  • North Carolina
  • Desperate character
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2018, 05:06:50 PM »
I don't read space opera (not even sure what it is) but I'd suggest taking a look at the top sellers in the genre.  If a respectable number of books have prologues, then go ahead and put in a prologue.

A couple of my MG adventures have prologues.  They're not infodumps--er, I mean background info--but instead they're action scenes.  The books involve time travel, and the prologues take place in the past.

Most importantly, I keep the prologue short.  As short as possible.  Even though the scene doesn't directly involve the book's main characters, it sets the tone for everything that happens during their adventure.
Jena

Online ShayneRutherford

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3707
  • Toronto, Ontario
    • View Profile
    • My Website
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2018, 05:29:06 PM »
Prologues are fine. Even infodumps are fine. The key is to make them hooky. If they're not hooky, then they won't work. Then again, a standard chapter 1 that isn't hooky won't work either.

As usual, success is more about an effective use of a particular technique than the technique in itself.

Just my 2 cents.


If infodumps were hooky,  no one would ever complain about them in the first place.
     

Offline Shelley K

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2039
  • Does things wrong.
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2018, 05:34:53 PM »
Most people who rail against prologues are writers who heard it from other writers. If your book calls for a prologue, make it a prologue. If you're worried about the label, don't call it a prologue. Just start the story. Put the title on the page, go down to the point where your chapters will start on the page, jump in. At the end of that, start chapter 1.


Offline Jeff Tanyard

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2405
  • Gender: Male
  • Georgia
  • Wait and hope.
    • View Profile
    • My Blog
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2018, 05:38:32 PM »
I don't read space opera (not even sure what it is)


Star Wars and Babylon 5 are examples of space opera.  It's sort of like an SF version of epic fantasy.  Here's the Wikipedia definition:

Quote
Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology.
            v  v  v   Short Stories   v  v  v                   Anthology       vvv FREE! vvv
        
Jeff Tanyard | Author Website

Offline wheart

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2018, 06:25:42 PM »
I've written in the thriller genre, and mostly prologues are taboo. At least what I've learned.

Well you should unlearn that, my dear, or else you might want to tell the TOP 100 Thriller bestsellers that, since many obviously don't know it's taboo :P

If big name authors are using them, why shouldn't you?

Whenever I read authors spouting so-called rules, I always check out multiple sources (and especially the bestseller authors' works) and determine for myself what's true.

Here are just a few Thrillers on the TOP 100 with prologues (I didn't get past the 2nd page):

The Girls
The Secret History
Beware the Past
The Gender Game
The Dead Key
Origin
In the Clearing
The Atlantis Gene
The Memory of Butterflies
The People vs Alex Cross
In the Waning Light

If these bestselling authors are writing prologues, I'd disregard whomever are calling them 'taboo' and refrain from spreading that type nonsense, lol :)

As some have said here, do what your heart tells you. If you feel a prologue suits the opening, go for it. Most readers won't judge your book just because you have a prologue. It takes more than that to ruin a reader's experience, right?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 06:33:20 PM by wheart »

Offline Jena H

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 6749
  • North Carolina
  • Desperate character
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2018, 07:23:32 PM »

Star Wars and Babylon 5 are examples of space opera.  It's sort of like an SF version of epic fantasy.  Here's the Wikipedia definition:

Thanks for the info.  But to me, it's plain old sci-fi.
Jena

Offline Jack Krenneck

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 720
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2018, 07:43:05 PM »

If infodumps were hooky,  no one would ever complain about them in the first place.

People complain about lots of things...

But if you don't think infodumps can be hooky, how about this as an example? The Lord of the Rings commences with an infodump of about 18 pages. It's so long that it's subdivided into headings such as Concerning Hobbits, Concerning Pipe-weed and Of the Ordering of the Shire. It is, well, the infodump to rule all infodumps.

Some people complain about it. Some people complain about TLOTR itself. Most people lap it up. All I can say is that Tolkien knew a thing or two about hookiness, and his techniques to make an infodump hooky are in plain sight for anyone who cares to study them.

Oh, I should mention - the infodump comes in the form of a prologue too.

Offline Tizzy

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 248
    • View Profile
Re: SPACE OPERA: PROLOGUE OR NOT TO PROLOGUE - THAT IS MY QUESTION
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2018, 08:02:00 PM »
If the beta readers said it should be a prologue that means they felt it was separate from the main story. In that case - is it necessary?

As a reader, I usually skip prologues because I want the meat of the story right away and I assume it's some political/philosophical nonsense that the writer thought he needed.

So I'd take a good look at the first chapter and see why it put them off.

The fact that it's separate from the main story doesn't necessarily mean it put them off. It may just have felt different enough for them to prefer a separate designation for it.

And I've never understood people who skip prologues. I mean, I get that if you read a couple pages of it and it's full of nothing or an infodump you'd skip, but flat-out skipping it without giving it a chance can reduce your understanding or even enjoyment of a novel. Prologues have historically been used, and are still used to this day, sometimes to good effect. A few examples off the top of my head would be:

- Gaiman and Pratchett used it in Good Omens, though titled "In the Beginning..." instead of "Prologue," to give us a small taste of what the book was about. It was short, dialogue-oriented, and funny and did its job just well.
- Rowling, writing as Galbraith, used it to effect in The Cuckoo's Calling, showing us the crime her MC would later investigate and its immediate aftermath from the point of view of the press and I believe an eyewitness. Just as well, it set the table for what was to come - and skipping it would have meant losing a lot of info on the book's main plotline. She also did try to have a prologue to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but turned it into the first chapter instead precisely because she feared some people would skip it. To me, that chapter is very much a prologue.
- Riggs used it in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, allowing his MC to introduce us to his grandfather and the stories he used to tell, thus setting the theme of the novel.
- George R R Martin used it in A Game of Thrones to foreshadow the themes of the storyline that would follow.
- Then there's Tolkien, who simply threw a poem at you to draw you in - that was a prologue.

My point is, prologues can be used to great effect and at times a story can call for the opening scene to be labeled so as it feels entirely different from the rest of the story. I've never written a novel with a prologue nor am I planning to, but that's because of the type of fiction I write. If ever I felt a prologue would be good for a book I'm writing I would go for it and if anyone skips it, it's their loss. The current trend of no prologues at all, while based on a good idea (ie, keeping novice writers from starting with infodumps or dreams or scenes that turn out to be the final encounter between two sides and that require most of the book to be a flashback,) it is hurting authors too by putting a limit on what they can do with their novels and how they can alter the flow of it.

If you need a prologue, use a prologue. Make sure you're using it for the right reason and put it there. It's your book, and the "no prologues" rule is as absurd as the "no adverbs" one.

Buy Scrivener for Windows or Mac