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  1. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    A Question About Manuscripts

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Kirvee, Sep 2, 2009.

    Wasn't entirely sure if this should go here or in General Writing, so if this is in the wrong place, I'm sorry!

    Anyway, just a quick question but when you're writing a manuscript, do you include things like: a forward messege, dedication and afterword? Or do those things get added in later and the only thing you write for a manuscript is a title page and the story chapters themselves?
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Why would you write a foreword/afterword at all? Generally when you see those in books its in classic books and serve as an introduction/commentary on the work written by a highly regarded academic or other writer. The dedication comes later too.
     
  3. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    *shrug*I thought it'd be nice if I could include my own commentary. I've seen other authors do their own forwards/afterwords and they usually thank their readers/offer some insight on the story.

    So the dedication isn't included in the manuscript until after it gets accepted?
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Kirvee,

    Just the manuscript. An agent considering to represent and an editor determining if it is a project they want to publish won't be interested in anything else like the dedication and acknolwedgments, etc. After it is accepted by a publisher, you can focus on the dedication page and other things.

    Terry
     
  5. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Ervin: Ah, I see. Thank you! :-D
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    terry's right...

    and you should know that forewords are almost always written by someone other than the author... as for offering 'insight on the story' why would you want to?... the point is to get the readers 'into' the story as quickly as possible, not bore them to death with extraneous info they won't give a bleep about, before letting them get to it...
     
  7. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Maia: If that's what a foreword is then what is it that I've seen authors write in the beginning of their own books where they might talk briefly about the story and other things? Aknowledgements?

    And if forewords are written by other people, are afterwords also written by other people? Or do authors get to write their own afterword if they want to?
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    If the author is especially highly regarded, and I suspect asked to by their publisher, they may include a foreword, though in all the books I can think of, they're written by other people. I think its highly unlikely that a first-time author would be allowed to include their own foreword on the text, other than perhaps clarifying details about the use of real people and places, things like that, not a commentary on the text itself.
     
  9. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Ok, then what about an afterword? I've never seen afterwords written by other people but the author themself.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As Terry already said, only the manuscript.
     
  11. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes you might get an "author's note" at the beginning ot afterward, but most of the time you don't need it. The ones that I can think of were explaining the historical context of the book in a youth novel, and one that assured the reader than despite the number racial slurs in the book, it in no way expressed the feelings of the author, just that it was realistic for the characters and story.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    stop agonizing over the peripherals and just submit your ms!

    if you're lucky enough to snag a publisher, you can discuss all of this with them...
     
  13. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Well, sorry, but seeing as I've never submitted anything to a publisher before, I don't know if stuff like that is supposed to be written before or after you submit the MS.

    And I just needed to find this out for future reference anyway, and since my question is mostly answered, I know what I wanted to know now. Thank you to those who answered my question.
     
  14. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    If you're talking about a novel (I assume you are), then you can do as you like. Forward, dedication, afterword, although these aren't essential unless they're important to the author. You can write them whenever you want to. First, once you've found an agent; even add them later on when a publisher's been found. Especially so, the forward, which is usually written by someone other than the author (usually someone whose name might help sales). The important thing is to write the story and find an agent who agrees with you that it's fabulous. The rest is really just so much fluff and is done for various reasons, but plenty of published books have none of the above.
     
  15. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Manhattan: Yes, I'm talking about a novel.

    Haha, an agent. As much as I would love to have one, I have no means of paying for one. So unless I win the lottery or come into a nice inheritance, I'll be agentless for quite a long time.
     
  16. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    You don't pay for an agent as such. They earn a commission from the sale of your manuscript (usually 10 or 15%, I think). If any agent wants payment upfront, then they likely aren't legit.
     
  17. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Banzai: Oh...thank you for telling me that! I was always under the impression that an agent is kinda like a lawyer: pricey and wants money now.
     
  18. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Kirvee,

    There are literary attorneys that you might hire, if you don't have an agent, to negotiate or review a contract for you (or you might even be able to pay a flat fee to an experienced agent), but you of course, would not do that (approach them) until you have already have a publishing house willing to publish your mansucript.

    So Banzai is correct. Any agent that charges fees, such as reading fees and the like up front isn't one you'd want to sign with. Legit agents earn their pay after they sell and negotiate the contract.

    Terry
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!... anyone who asks for a single penny up front is NOT a legit agent...
     
  20. winner
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    winner New Member

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    Keep in mind that writing is about being creative. In the world of art/creativity there are no rules.

    You can write your own Forward or Introduction, as well as a simple dedication. You might also want to put in "About the Author' as your last page. Make that page brief, don't give out too much personal information. Where your from, what your interests are, etc.

    The introduction is simply a short background on how you and the book came into being. It is not a chapter.

    The dedication is generally one page with one sentence that says 'Dedicated to ...' and maybe, a reason why.

    On the other hand those things are not necessary. Some publishers will have other writers, writers you don't know, write something about your book in the Forward, praising it and recommending it. Some publishers don't.

    The only 'rules' you have to follow are those outlined by your editor, publisher, agent. Follow their guidelines. But the book is yours to do with as you please.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Forgive me, but Balderdash! Sure, you can do anything you want for your own enjoyment, but if you want anyone else to pay attention to your work, of course there are rules.

    A manuscript is what you present to a publisher, in competition with all the other manuscripts flooding in. The manuscript does not, and should not, contain forewords, afterwords, dedications, or any material other than the story itself. If you have a prologue, that is part of the story. The rest of the addenda are not.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and a great big amen to all that!
     
  23. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    Theres a sticky at the top of the page by mammamaia I believe and it helped me greatly. It tells you how your manuscript and query letter should be formatted (what to include, what to leave out, and why). HTH!
     

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