Question and Notes

I did something with The Zanari Inheritance I don’t normally do: I included some notes about calendars and weird words at the back. If you didn’t notice them (no pun intended), take a look.

Was it helpful? What I’m writing at the moment has a load of weird stuff in it and I’m wondering whether explanatory notes is actually useful to the reader.

PS. I’m saying as little as possible about what I’m currently writing because… Well, it may not pan out, and it is a bit strange. If it’s working, I will give out more information earlier than I did with The Zanari Inheritance.


19 responses to “Question and Notes

  1. Regarding notes at the end, they were not useful to me because I did not know they were there until the end of the book. The time units caused me the most confusion. Maybe use regular bibliographical reference notation[1] or something similar the first time a term in used, at least if it important to understand what is going on.

    As for what you are working on, just put it on the web page you have for that, but don’t mention a time frame. It is clearly stated that work can end up in purgatory.

    1. Endnotes or footnotes, for example. šŸ™‚

  2. Glad I saw this post, I’m just getting started with the book and will use the reference as I go. Thanks, I do find these useful.

    I will add that it’s easy to overlook these when they’re in the back of the book (especially if a writer doesn’t typically include them). Some of the people I read (Peter F. Hamilton and L.E. Modesitt, for example) put these in the front of the book so that you move past them to start reading the story. That way you’re aware of the resource as you begin reading. However, everything works if you let it as they say.

    Enjoying the story so far!

  3. Yup, I found the same problem as Ben C. – no help because I didn’t know they were there. Consequently, for example, I could work out from context that a sexagoy was a unit of time, but not its length. Perhaps a note at the beginning to the effect that there’s a lexicon at the back might be useful? Or put the lexicon iteself at the beginning?

    (Mind you, I was quite proud to discover that I’d correctly worked out the derivation of “sor” and “sora” for myself!)

    • On second thoughts, perhaps footnotes might work better. E-readers don’t really lend themselves to flipping back and forth between the content and notes etc. at the front (or the back, where they’ll also mess up the reader’s “last page read”).

  4. I’m the weird person who doesn’t really care enough to look up “fantasy terms”, just going with the flow, unless it’s crucially important somehow (but if it’s crucially important it’s usually explained in the novel proper), but who likes reading the sort of thing afterwards anyway. Can’t even explain it. A bit like watching credits roll in the cinema after the movie is over, just kinda a good “fade out” after finishing a book.

  5. I had already worked out most of the information contained in the notes by the time I got to the end and found found them.

  6. Glossary of terms used I find to be quite helpful, because like in Fox it can be expanded to included all sorts of useful terms and explanations. I would suggest if they are at the back put in a mention that they could be found at the back. In the front it is obvious unless one is really not paying attention lol

  7. A list of any acronyms used may be helpful, especially in a military or police oriented sci-fi story.
    Personally, I’ve always thought that if the author needs a long list of descriptions then the story is unnecessarily complicated. A few of my favorite authors over the years have mentioned why their aliens speak English, or use the metric system, or days, hours and minutes as units of time … the authors don’t believe that an alien civilization will use the same systems humans of today use, but making things up just to be “authentic” doesn’t help the story.
    It always bugs me every time an author has to pause the story to insert a description of something totally made up that has no reference to, well, reality. Okay, your spaceship goes faster than light – I don’t need ten pages of totally made up descriptions on how it does so. Same thing with having to flip back and forth to some reference dictionary. It pulls the reader out of the story.
    I think you did a fine job on this latest story. All of your made-up words were close enough to modern vocabulary to suss out the meanings.

  8. Like the others I didn’t know the footnotes were there until I’d finished the book. And by that time I’d worked out the terminology you’d used. I do think the glossary is a good idea.

  9. Cecil Montague

    Have to echo everyone here. Didn’t realise they were there until it was too late to make a difference. Managed to figure most of it out through context and it didn’t detract from the story though.

    Just one question; couldn’t have been the Montague-Hepps field instead? šŸ˜€

  10. Havent had the chance to read The Zanari Inheritance yet(dilation from eye doctor messes me up for a week or so) so cant comment on notes for that, just in general. For me I always go to the cover of a book no matter where it starts out when opened to look for and read any forward or dedications, so a note about a glossary, additional notes at the end, or a listing in the table of contents will catch my eye. I dont specifically look for anything even if the book is full of odd terms and acronyms, but will look stuff up if Ive seen there is a glossary. General notes on termanology I think go better at the front, as long as they are brief. Good example of that would be the short explanation of the odd pronouns used for the androgynous aliens in Tau Ceti by Laurence Dahners in the books prologue.

  11. I liked the notes in the back and found them helpful. Though I had hoped some extra information about the different organizations were there, looked for BCC and the sisterhood.

  12. Ok, just finished this one. Great start! Good world-building. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. Now the bad part… waiting for your next book release!

    BTW, per my comment above, thanks for mentioning the notes in the back. It was good knowing they were there and referring to them as things would come up.

    Thanks for another great series!

  13. hhhmmmm… maybe I’m just so comfortable with your style I didn’t need the notes? Didn’t realize they were there until I saw this. I also read a large selection if SciFi/Fantasy so most of the terms are familiar in context. oh… Hell of a book.. Thanks for it!

  14. Can’t wait for next in series!!!!

  15. Using an eReader flipping back and forth is NOT a valid option.
    Sadly, all the acronyms and new words just yanked me out of the story if I have to stop every few pages. Rather like watching a movie and getting up every few minutes to run to the lobby to consult a dictionary.
    Sor/Sora I didn’t even pause at.
    Sexagoy ripped me clean out of the book and I am here rather than reading. I can guess a root of 6, but 6 days, weeks, months? Not a long time from context.

  16. I really enjoy this book. Seems like a picked up all the terms naturally after seeing them in context a few times.

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