|Mystery: October 05, 2022 Issue [#11594]|
This week: A Writer’s Toolbox: Terminology Edited by: Carol St.Ann
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|I know I’m not the only one whoever had to refer to Dr. Google for a refresh on some of this, so I thought I’d share. |
Story writing and book editing terminology get confused all the time. One surefire way to out one’s self as a novice, beginner, or wannabe writer is to get this stuff wrong. In this edition, I’ll address the most commonly mixed up/confused parts, definitions, and wherefores. Let’s get to it.
|The number ONE Most commonly mixed up: Preface and Introduction|
According to Words into Type, "the introduction usually forms a part of the text and the text numbering system; the preface does not.”
Here are a few reasons to choose the preface or introduction:
• To talk about how you came to write the book, especially if that will help draw the reader into the book. Perhaps best in the preface.
• To sell the book to the potential reader/buyer (lure them, hook them, make them want to read more).
• To answer the question(s): why this book? why now? why this person? why by this author?
• To talk about how you obtained the information — what your main sources were (and how they differ from other books on the subject, if this is the millionth book about the Kennedys, for example).
• To provide a framework for what's to follow — the hooks on which to hang the pegs of story details.
• To provide, in brief, your main argument or point of view about the subject. You suggest your conclusions or viewpoint up front and then express them more fully and strongly in the concluding chapter.
Alphabetically Listed ---
An Afterword is in the voice of the author. When the author steps in and pitches the epilogue - revealing character fates and tying up loose ends - in his or her own voice and speaks directly to the reader, that is more properly considered an afterword. It can also be used as a sequel or to introduce a sequel.
Epigraph: A brief quotation or saying, that may appear on the title page or on the back of the dedication or may replace the second half-title or be on the back of it, facing the text. (This explanation from Wikipedia is great: "In literature, an epigraph is a phrase, quotation, or poem that is set at the beginning of a document or component. The epigraph may serve as a preface, as a summary, as a counter-example, or to link the work to a wider literary canon, either to invite comparison or to enlist a conventional context.")
The Epilogue (alternate spelling epilog) is a piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work. A character can deliver a speech, speaking directly to the reader, when bringing the piece to a close, or the narration may continue normally to a closing scene. It's the final chapter after the end of a story. Most commonly, epilogues occur at a significant period of time after the main plot has ended, and they reveal the fates of the characters and tie up loose ends. An epilogue can continue in the same narrative style and perspective as the preceding story, although the form of an epilogue can occasionally be drastically different from the overall story.
Foreword: *Many people misspell foreword, as foreward or even forward! It is a "word" be"fore" the book itself. The foreword is usually written by someone other than the author.
The Chicago Manual of Style states the Foreword is usually written by someone other than the author or editor, usually someone eminent (it's purpose being to lend credibility to the book). Typically, it is one or two pages in length.
The Introduction deals with the subject of the book, supplementing and introducing the text and indicating a point of view to be adopted by the reader. According to Words into Type, "the introduction usually forms a part of the text and the text numbering system."
The Preface is an introduction to the novel which is not part of the novel. It is written in the author's own voice, and it usually contains some kind of explanation or contextual notes (such as how the author came up with the idea for the book, who s/he spoke to while doing research, acknowledgment of people who assisted in the writing of the book, etc.). The author writes directly to the reader about things said reader needs to know before starting the book. While the Preface is most commonly used in non-fiction book, you will occasionally see one in a prestigious work of fiction that has been reprinted after several years, and the author wants to discuss what's happened since the first edition came out. According to Words into Type, the preface is not part of the text and, therefore, does not become a part of the text numbering system.
The Prologue (or dramaturgy) is written in the voice of the story and is a part of the story itself. Its purpose is to describe (a) significant or pivotal event(s) that occurred before the actual start of story. It generally provides some sort of dramatic foreshadowing of the plot or tone of the novel to come. Before you decide to write a prologue, consider whether you are starting the story in the right place as well as whether or not a flashback might serve the story better.
NOTE: If your book/story has a prologue, it must also have an epilogue.
*Alternate acceptable spelling: Prolog
Q & A: An Addendum
1. What is an incipit?
Incipit is the grouping for filing purposes of the first few words of the first line of a story, poem, or text. (Computers use this to create a file not otherwise named.)
2. What is Rubrication?
Red headings to mark the end of one section of text and the beginning of another. Used in medieval times to annotate text for a printer, now used to highlight separations in text. *A perfect example would be found in religious books or Catholic missles to separate sections, indicate who, during the practice of the Catholic Mass is speaking, reciting, or responding.
Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0226104036/ref=nosim?tag=writandedit-20
Words Into Type: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0139642625/ref=nosim?tag=writandedit-20
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