’The Rome Heist’ is the instigating event in the past that guides the events in the present day of our story.
A little discussion on the author process. Originally the comic and the novel started in the past with this heist, with the intent of all events happening in chronological order. The idea was to start with the prologue prior to the rest of the book.
The prologue introduced characters who are only hinted at in the rest of the chapters, providing the context so readers aren’t scratching their heads. It also showed the humor and lighthearted direction that the comic/novel would take.. With the context and the characters established, as well as the stakes, the intent was then to move into the rest of the book, so the reader is not jumping around. The main character is introduced, but in her younger form.
The antagonist is also introduced, as well as the major conflict. The prologue ends on a very emotional note, one that I thought would get the reader supremely invested in the story. The first chapter ends with the main character in the modern day and we’re off and running.
There was just one problem: the prologue was a full chapter length. We didn’t meet the main character (in the form we would stay with for the rest of the book) until nearly thirty pages in. Considering the first fifty pages are crucial for establishing the setting, investing in the main character, establishing the stakes, and setting our protagonist off on her journey, to have a full chapter in the past was guaranteed to put the reader off.
So, the prologue became a flashback, the only flashback in the book.