I need feedback on Prologue + Chapter 1 (2300 words / 7 pages only)
Some of the feedback I received led me to conclude I have to change the expectations I set at the initial chapters. (Among a lot of other things I have to improve but are not in the scope of this thread)
My novel's prologue originally portrayed my MC as an immortal tired of eternal life, ready to find eternal sleep. Then obviously, when he got too involved in mortal matters that should be beneath him, some readers got upset.
So, I worked on it and ended up turning the current prologue into the new chapter 1, but now it feels like it has too much exposition. To counter that, and also to help manage expectations, I added a new, much shorter prologue. I fear that the prologue might just add to the feeling of "when will the story start" rather than help though.
Anyway, I would greatly appreciate for anyone who has never read the novel (Immortal Conqueror) to read the new prologue + chapter 1. Please let me know if it feels like too much exposition for you too. Or even if it feels just plain boring.
A lot of that stuff aren't things we need to know right now, so it's probably in your best interest to figure out which things are those the reader needs to know right now.
Generally, if you want to inform the reader about the character's backstory, I would suggest doing vignettes or something a chapter or 2 before the information becomes relevant to the current story.
For those that said you don't need a prologue, this is a case where a prologue would be useful to add context and information that is part of the character and universe, but unrelated to the current story, such as how he's a powerful dude with interesting backstory. Though, if your prologue is just a chapter 0, then it's not doing what it's supposed to be doing.
We need a :cents: emoji so I can throw a couple out there.
Hope I gave you some food for thought.
Still, there are some crucial questions you need to ask yourself.
1. Do we need to know about his wife and children? Do they play a role in any major way further into the narration? If not, then the whole backstory, that is good at giving one the feels, to be honest, is meaningless. If the Mc only reminiscence from time to time about them, it is enough to mention his family and their loss at that particular moment.
2. How intriguing would be a start-over story of a protagonist who has reached the pinnacle once already? I mean, he has his past knowledge and is aware of all the ropes and pitfalls of cultivation. In that case, every hardship on his way would, in my opinion, be undermined since the reader knows that he has once achieved even greater heights. A good example of the theme of someone powerful re-winding his life done very well is Tales of Demons and Gods. But there the super powerful protagonist was, despite all his powers, not strong enough to protect the people he loved. So he turns back time and is faced with the same people and horrors, with the fear of whether he will succeed this time, with the knowledge of what is at stake and how powerful and all-controlling his foe is. With your story, we have a bored immortal who, on a whim, decides to enter another dimension with nothing to lose but his cultivation.
3. Boredom is the natural result of immortality, indeed. But how compelling would a bored character be to follow? If he has lived for eons and experienced... everything, simply going to a new dimension won't change the fact that everything around him is just another permutation of the things he has already experienced. It robs the reader of the amazement of the "first time".
I am not saying that the story you have started is bad. It has potential but where will it go will depend on you answering the questions above for yourself first.
I wish you the best of luck!