This is the blog post that really should have been a comment, but which is long enough that it's too long to be a comment. And I still would have made it a comment, except that when I got to the bit with the title in it, I simply could not resist writing a post with that title.
I see the point a certain plot-ranting reader was trying to make. But regardless of what I write, I still have the problem of ending up with too many words, whether it's a prologue or not because I think of the interesting plot points/character lines/scenes, I write them, and then I dig myself into a hole as I try to fill in the bits in between.
And speaking of prologues, they don't always have to be 'mysterious' or 'vague.' Actually, I feel that the point of a prologue is to include a relevant piece of story that is essential for plot/understanding purposes, but which for some reason doesn't fit in with the rest of it, either in terms of point of view, or chronologically, like if it took place in the past or future. And I think that if there's really nothing that fits into that category, then you don't need a prologue. Far too many people put in a vague prologue because they think they should have one, rather than put one in because they have an important bit that doesn't fit.
Magic babies are so overdone!
As for the overly dramatic he just did WHAT!? scenes, they are one of the reasons I end up with too much junk going on in the first place. I know personally (mainly from the lack of suitable reaction evinced by my poor sister upon the perusal of a series of execrably scribed "dramatic" scenes that I inflicted upon her, whihc served to confuse rather than excite) that I, as the author, will see the full shocking implication of what the character just did. But to someone who can't see into their head like I can, things happening out of the blue will tend to annoy rather than intrigue because they don't know why they're supposed to get all . That's why I try to spend some time leading up to the action so it will make sense, rather than just having it come at the reader out of the blue.
Easier said than done.
In fact, what this results in is a series of little scenes where I can see how to let the reader know some of the character's motivations, and their current situation, by blending them with action. Except the tricky bits come in when I try to link them together. That's how I write: I write the good bits that I can think of, then I fill in the gaps between. That's really why one scene ends up so long, because when I try to transition from one thing to another everything just blows up around me. Dialogue gets long-winded, as I try to direct conversation from one topic to another while revealing necessary information. One scene turns into a long string of little confrontations and adventures, as I make references to previous scenes that I then have to explain.
That's what happened with this one character...without revealing any specific details, she's an emotionless b!tch who does something horrible, something that not even she is insensitive to, and she finally has to deal with the full trauma and consequences of her act and has to re-learn how to feel emotion and empathize with the pain of others. I was going to start off with the horrible act, but it wouldn't seem so horrible...rather, it would seem corny...if you didn't know what kind of person she was. And it just went from there.
'Nuff said. Basically...it's one big tangle. :-D