Hi. I posted a thread similar to this back in March, but a lot has changed since then, so I figured it would be better to start a new thread instead of reviving that one. (Mods - if this is in the wrong place, I apologize)
Okay. So I've got this really really good prologue for my YA fantasy novel, about 2.5k words, that I've slaved over to make perfect. After a whole thread of revisions in SYW, I put up a fresh version after three months and all critters agreed that it was well written.
It functions just like Chapter One of any novel. It has the KAPOW! that draws a reader in. It introduces the main character, her goals and motivations, the villain, and the conflict - all simply, concisely, and compellingly. It is not an infodump or history, and characters do things that have consequences, and there is also action, too - it's not just explain, talk, blah blah blah.
Here's the problem. The reason that it's the prologue is that this scene occurs ten years before chapter one, and I'm not sure having ten year time difference between chapter one and two is a good idea. So it's labeled as a prologue. And I understand that not all readers read the prologue.
Yes, this pre-story scene is needed. It fuels the inciting incident that happens when the actual story starts. It helps set up the MC's motivation off the bat, which allows the story to get moving quickly. It would be very hard to weave it into the main story without bogging it down. Additionally, the "Villain" doesn't appear again until about 10 chapters in--with him in the prologue he seems more deadly and real in Chapter 10, compared to having him just be a memory that slowed the story down earlier. Also, this prologue is constantly referred back to in the book. What the MC does in this prologue is the entire reason she is the "hero" of the story.
So, as you can see, I'm in kind of a dilemma . I really want to keep this scene in the story. I think it would be awkward putting it as Chapter One, and I fear the hated label "prologue" is going to turn off readers as well as agents. And that leads me to another thing - I've heard agents completely skip over prologues when they request a partial. And if by some miraculous reason I get a partial requested, I really want them to see this scene, as I think its one of the better ones I've written.
TL;DR - I have a prologue that functions the same as Chapter One, but it occurs ten years before the story begins, which is the only reason why it's a prologue. It's essential and compelling, but I fear the label prologue will cause readers and agents to skip over it.