Before the beginning, there was a prologue. A prologue is a written section of the story that gives background information on the world, the characters, and/or add some extra exposition.
The word "Prologue" above a section of writing tells the audience that this is extra exposition. A prologue is NOT chapter one, and is not a part of the linear story. With or without the prologue, the story should make linear sense.
A prologue can give you an extra hand in getting the audience to know the world and characters. If the book is a sequel, you can use the prologue to tie off loose ends from previous books.
Prologues can be a legend or folk tale from the world. They could also be what happened seven years ago, or shorter, or longer, or whatever. A prologue is a part of the story that isn't part of the main storyline, so with that in mind, you can do anything, except...
Your prologue must be consistent with the rest of the story! No magical prologue and then modern rest of the story. And if you're doing something exciting in the prologue, you'd better keep the tension at the same level in Chapter 1. A prologue is not where the main story starts. It may be the initiation of the story, but it is not where the story itself starts. I cannot stress this point too much, for it is one of the greater pitfalls.
Another thing, don't drop characters from the prologue. If you get the audience to like the character, keep the character, cause if you don't, the audience gets mad. Always tie in the prologue to the main storyline, otherwise YOUR PROLOGUE MAY BE UNNECESSARY.
Thank you to all that came this week, and I'd like to see those who couldn't come on Tuesday come next week. Especially our secretary, because I need her to take notes on the lesson so I can write these blog posts.