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  1. #1
    KMH Stone
    Guest

    What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    I am thinking of putting in a preface for my fantasy novel, detailing the geography of the lands in my made up world. It is not very long, only around 10-16 lines. Do you guys and girls think this a good idea?



  2. #2
    cara k
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    In general, prefaces and prologues are frowned upon, unless absolutely necessary. If it only takes 10-16 lines, I'd advise weaving it into the body of your work. Good luck.

    --Cara K

  3. #3
    the cat came back
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    What about a map?

  4. #4
    Rich DeRuvo
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    I have a prologue at the beginning of my fantasy novel. I feel like for fantasy there is too much background that sometimes has to stand on its own.

  5. #5
    Busy Lizzy
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    You could put it in the back, like an appendix. If your readers want that extra information, they could look there for it.

    Putting it at the beginning might hamper the flow of the story. If there is a complicated map with explanations right at the beginning, readers may worry that understanding your story is going to be a lot of hard work.

    You wouldn't want to give them that impression.

    JMHO,

    Busy Lizzy

  6. #6
    A.L. Sirois
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    Don't. If you can't get the required information into the body of the work then you are not doing your job. Sure, Tolkein had maps, but he also had appendices. You might consider that. And is the info genuinely needed for a reader's full comprehension of the tale, or is it just that you hate leaving out "the cool stuff"?

    Jack Vance, who has written a lot of fantasy, ocasionally uses footnotes. Ten lines of preface isn't bad, but still... can't it somehow be woven into the tale?

  7. #7
    Kate B.
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    Actually prefaces bother me less than maps. When I open a book and find a map I kind of groan. Then, there have been several times that I read the book and the map was more-or-less useless. Some of the minor places highlighted in the book aren't on the map...major places I got a sense of location from the writing.

    I don't mind a preface, but the information doesn't tend to stick with me. I just finished the Twilight series. I think all of the books start with a preface, which I read. Then when I went back to re-read, I was like, "Oh, that's right...she did have a little preface at the start." I will say that her preface didn't add at all. It would have been better without it.

  8. #8
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    Sometimes, a prolog is the only way to get the effect you want. Imagine a story that really starts with a farmer visiting the city and getting into trouble with the law because of a corrupt official. You could use a prolog that has him getting ready to leave home; his wife warns him to be careful, with him replying that the city is so safe now that the king has replaced all the bad ministers of his predecessor and there's no need to worry. This, of course is Famous Last Words, and helps you see why he wasn't expecting trouble. (Yes, you could start the story with his departure, but it might make more dramatic sense to have the real story start later.) In this case, it's not so much extra info, as a bit of a teaser.

    In one of the Amilia Peabody stories, there's a prolog showing her husband at the age of 14. Only much later in the book do you find out what it's about, but when you do, it has quite an impact. Considering the way the books are written, there's no other way to give us that hint, and if you skipped the prolog, you completely miss one of the dramatic moments of the book.

  9. #9
    S Stull
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    I'm a little confused. From the fantasy reading I've always done--Young Adult and Adult--I've never gotten anything but the impression that a prologue is a part of the story (ESSENTIAL) that often foreshadows, or perhaps simply precedes, the main story.

    But I'm coming to see that prologues are frowned upon, often skipped by readers, or viewed as "pointless--put it in the main story. Otherwise, it's rubbish."

    My thought is (if anyone actually cares, lol): Prologues that are a part of the story are acceptable: Prologue "Johnny went outside on a dark and rainy night." <> Chapter One: "Johnny was killed. The murderer slipped away," etc, etc. (I think that should be my next novel, btw)

    Othewise, no. "The story happens here, here, here, and it then does this..." NO.

    Am I right for sci-fi? Or am I just barmy?

  10. #10
    KMH Stone
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of prefaces and what can be put in them?

    Thanks for all the advice, but it hasn't made my decision any easier. I think I will try to weave it into the story, as I am sure no one will miss it, but if I decide to keep it, many readers my be turned off.

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