Reference materials in your novel?

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plughmann
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Reference materials in your novel?

Postby plughmann » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:01 pm

Just saw two books , both by best selling authors, at B&N that both had a list of characters in the front for reference.
Both seem to be follow-ons in a series by a famous author using a ghost to continue the series, or a collaboration for one who writes a lot of novels.

Another had some maps that seemed to be for those who can't envison the countries in Europe. And another that was a simple sketch of a house by a lake. How could the reader not envision that simple layout from the description in the text, which would not have to be very long nor complex.

Were the maps to break up 700++ pages of verbiage?

The character list makes sense as there were 3-4 pages listing all of them. I guess if you can't make the characters memorable then you need to give the reader a list to refer to. Or if you write something similar to War and Peace, which had way too many nicknames and Russian naming quirks depending on relationships.

One book was one a long series and I presume they listed them for those who had not read all the in between titles.

Would you feel a need to list your characters?
When would graphics be appropriate instead of just text?

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ostarella
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Re: Reference materials in your novel?

Postby ostarella » Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:14 pm

Agatha Christie's books often had a list of characters at the front - her books were neither lengthy nor the cast of characters vast. Illustrations can be helpful, or simply interesting, or unnecessary. I don't generally pay a lot of attention to them, since they won't mean anything until I actually get into the story.

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Re: Reference materials in your novel?

Postby plughmann » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:42 pm

[quote="ostarella"]Agatha Christie's books often had a list of characters at the front - her books were neither lengthy nor the cast of characters vast. Illustrations can be helpful, or simply interesting, or unnecessary. I don't generally pay a lot of attention to them, since they won't mean anything until I actually get into the story.[/quote]


I think it makes sense to have them listed.

Some people say to omit lists of characters and prologues yada yada.

Somewhere I recall some supposed expert saying to omit pictures unless they were absolutely necessary to show what you were trying to describe in words.

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ostarella
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Re: Reference materials in your novel?

Postby ostarella » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:00 am

I wouldn't say you shouldn't include pictures, lists, maps, etc, any more than I would say you shouldn't include a prologue or epilogue. I admit I don't like drawings or pictures in place of adequate description, but that's just personal preference. I guess I'd rather have the picture than detailed descriptions that go on forever, or a map if the area is important AND intricately laid out (I totally give up trying to figure out where people are on board a ship or sub if there's no map - they're just on a ship somewhere :? )

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Brien Sz
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Re: Reference materials in your novel?

Postby Brien Sz » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:07 am

I don't mind maps or reference materials. Just keep them simple is all I ask.

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wdarcy
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Re: Reference materials in your novel?

Postby wdarcy » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:44 am

I read most of Agatha Christie's books in my youth, and I remember well those lists of characters. However, I wonder if those lists were drawn up by the American paperback publisher rather than by Christie herself. I found them useful at the time. I also appreciated the family tree at the front of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." And I love maps of places, houses, boats, etc. But I agree: none of this can substitute for good description. But keep it short! I have no patience with long-winded descriptions that go on forever.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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Noizchild
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Re: Reference materials in your novel?

Postby Noizchild » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:59 am

I don't mind it myself.
You ask me what I thought about
Before we were lovers.
The answer is easy.
Before I met you
I didn't have anything to think about.

-- From "The Love Poems of Marichiko"

plughmann
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Re: Reference materials in your novel?

Postby plughmann » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:46 am

[quote="wdarcy"]I read most of Agatha Christie's books in my youth, and I remember well those lists of characters. However, I wonder if those lists were drawn up by the American paperback publisher rather than by Christie herself. I found them useful at the time. I also appreciated the family tree at the front of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." And I love maps of places, houses, boats, etc. But I agree: none of this can substitute for good description. But keep it short! I have no patience with long-winded descriptions that go on forever.

--Warren[/quote]
=

I don't recall seeing them in any of Agatha's books. Possibly many printings in different formats with some including them and others not doing it.

That girl series has them so people who come in late, and dont read them all in sequence, can know who the players are.
That makes sense. Especially with so many characters.


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