1. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Forwards good or bad?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Blue_Lotus, Jul 23, 2011.

    I have a stupid q, but I was told that my work needed a forward, however someone else whom is a trusted member of the literary world said they are the worst and kill a book before it ever gets started.

    So I guess I'm asking when does a work need them and how does one use them effectivly? As well as any other thoughts you might have.
    Thanks.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that forewords are generally a bad idea. If the content is too boring or out of place to start the story, it's still too boring or out of place to start the story no matter where it is. If it's appropriate for the start of the story, it should just be a chapter, because people tend to skip a foreword.

    Others disagree, and no doubt they'll post. :)

    ChickenFreak
     
  3. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Forewords are not written by the author themselves but by someone else.
    Prefaces are written by the author.

    Both can be found, not too uncommonly, in works of non-fiction.
    Much less common to find either in works of fiction. Wholly unnecessary.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I knew there was something that was confusing me about "forward"/foreword! Preface, prologue, that's what I was talking about.
     
  5. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've only seen forewards (effectively) used in classic literature and even then I don't read them unless I'm interested after finishing the novel itself.
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never understood why more people don't just call their prologues 'chapter one' since a lot of so-called prologues can work just as well as the first chapter. If it's the kind of prologue that is completely apart from the story, at least it appears so in the beginning, then it can be a prologue, but this trick is not always done well and it can be irritating to get into a scenario and then drop it and shift to what seems like another.
     
  7. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    What madhoca said.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A foreword (note spelling) is an introduction to the book (NOT to the story), generally written by someone other than the author. More often used for nonfiction than for fiction.

    A preface is like a foreword, but written by the author. Both of these are about the book or the process of creating it. They are not part of the story or text.

    A prologue is a preliminary offering of the story that is somehow separate from the main story, such as taking place outside the time period of the actual story, or involving characters not present in the main body.

    None of these are necessary. A prologue is not always a poor choice, but because it is "outside" the main story, very often you are better off without it.

    Anyone who tells you your book "needs" a foreword, particularly a work of fiction, does not know what he or she is talking about.
     
  10. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    OK my mistake It is a prolouge not a foreword.

    thanks for correcting me there... but Now I ask as a work of fiction how do I introduce this concept properly with out one? Just make a new chapter or add it in throughout the first few chapters? which do you as a reader prefer?
     
  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sprinkle in back-story into the story, as and when it becomes relevant. No need to do huge chunks of infodumps.

    For instance, when I was revising my last work, I found that I could take out two quite substantial sections and incorporate them in a much less wordy manner later on.

    I had a description of an event in character x's childhood somewhere near the beginning. Much later on, the same character mentions something about this to his love-to-be. My thinking - did I really to reveal this so early on? No. So I don't need this first section at all. Delete. Expand the 'second' mention of this event via dialogue.

    I'd just write and then when you revise, you can take out or add stuff. :)
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try looking at lots of works and see how they introduce themselves. Terry Pratchett is quite partial to using prologues, which he does very effectively, using them as "teasers" for what is going to happen in the book. The first chapter of Game of Thrones feels to me as if it's doing the same thing, but it's presented as a chapter, not as a prologue. Gary Gibson's Stealing Light is presented in multiple time-frames so it's impossible to say from the content whether the opening is a prologue or the main narrative, but he presents it as a chapter. Countless authors just get on with the story.
     
  13. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    oy! okie dokie then thanks much.
     
  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    The only forward I read was for The Strange Case of Dr. Jykell and Mr. Hyde. To be honest, it was the worst forward I've read as it descended from explaining the book to making personal attacks on the author.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Probably written by Hyde.
     
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  16. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    lol Steer.
     
  17. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    I noticed as I re read the Revised version of an excerpt that I posted that I have a tell not show way of writing, Perhaps my problem with the Prolouge can be fixed if I fix this mistake in my orginal work. :) I owe Maia a lot, as she kindly pointed out that I know exactly squat about diddly. :D Thanks Maia!
     

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