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I'm interested to hear others' thoughts on appendices in fantasy novels (those set in fantasy worlds)--backmatter lists of characters, place names, calendars, notes on worldbuilding, etc.

The writer in me says it's my responsibility to make all of that information absolutely clear in the text itself, so the reader doesn't *need* a cheat sheet... but I know Tamora Pierce often includes them, and I'm reading a book from my editor/publisher right now that has them, as well (so apparently *they* don't mind them!).

My editor asked me for information like this, and my CPs suggested including them in the book/s, but I'm undecided.

#1 - March 25, 2009, 03:12 PM

Tessa Gratton

I try to ignore appendixes unless I really need them, but when I do (I used the appendix in Carey's KUSHIEL series for remembering who characters were, frex) they're really convenient. 

I have noticed a difference in how I like/don't like them, depending on their placement in the text. When they are at the beginning of the book it annoys me because it feels like I am supposed to *need* it in order to read the book, and I get caught up looking through it before I even get to Chapter One.  But when it's at the back, it feels more like a supplement there for my convenient reference.  Like a bibliography or other tool.  Not part of the text. 

#2 - March 25, 2009, 04:18 PM

It's nice for a series because I often forget details from earlier books.

I do agree that it works better at the back of the book than at the front--seems more optional that way.
#3 - March 25, 2009, 06:10 PM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)

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I avoid 'em. They annoy me, and they always strike me as faux Tolkien. After spending all those years on LOTR, he had a serious reason to put all that info in his appendices: he had really worked out all the rules of those languages, for example. For books that take 5 years or less to write (my brand-new rule) I agree with what you said about thinking that the material should be within the story. And most books that took more than five years. In fact, any book not written by JRRT!
#4 - March 25, 2009, 07:36 PM


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