About a month ago I got a rejection letter from a big time New York agent. I'd met him at the San Francisco Writer's Conference. He's been in publishing for years and is an author himself. On theagent panel,writers had the opportunity to ask them questions on the industry. If you're a writer, listen to it. It has valuable information. There was a question asked about prologues, and that agent said he hated them. Other's liked them, so it shows you how subjective this industry can be.
One of the most vivid images that came to me before 7th Province: Nightfall came to being was the prologue. I didn't even know it would be a prologue. The thing it did was set up the whole story and character arc, grounded the hero, and it allowed the reader to care for him. From that scene the 7th Province world exploded. As it happened, it was the first scene that I wrote.
Man, I remembered being extremely excited. To this day it's my favorite scene.
So when the agent expressed his hatred of prologues, I was stunned. I was going to submit my manuscript to him. What was I going to do?
The most grossest thing ever. Yes, I used 'most' and 'grossest' in the same sentence. I got rid of my prologue.
"What the hell are you doing?" my gut said.
"I'm succumbing to what others think about me," I said.
I pitched my book to the agent. He seemed to like it and asked for my first fitty pages (fifty for those who didn't get it). Victory! I spent the next four weeks revising my book with no prologue and sent it off. Four weeks later, I received the rejection letter.
For the most part, he liked it. Then he said the one thing that kills any story. He didn't care about the hero. If a reader doesn't care about the hero, the main character, then there's nothing at stake. Why continue reading?
Go with your gut. In life going with your gut, your heart, can be the most important thing you can do. If you can't trust your own heart, how can you expect others to? I've always trusted my vision in the story. I've always taken others advise with a grain of salt, rewrote when I saw fit. But when it came to my prologue, my favorite scene, I slammed the door in its face.
However, the only time I wouldn't trust my gut is if my emotions resided outside of being content or happy. If someone bumped me on the street, and I got pissed off, I'm not going to follow my impulse to beat up the guy. That's my ego getting in my way. If I was happy and content, my impulse would probably be to excuse myself, and we'd go on our merry way.