1. captken
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    captken Member

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    Preface, introduction or Foreword?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by captken, Nov 8, 2012.

    I wrote a silly tale last year I called "Marijuana Dreamin'." No, I am not a pot head nor have I ever been. Yes, I puffed some weed
    a few times while in college and I definitely inhaled but I was never serious about it.

    I couldn't figure how to get started with the tale so I added a Foreword. Later I decided it was a Preface. Now I call it the Introduction. Perhaps
    I should have omitted whatever it is and started with Chapter 1.

    My questions are: First, what is it? Second, should I omit it?

    Marijuana Dreamin’
    By Ken Roy

    Introduction​

    This is a work of total fiction. Well, maybe it is not complete fiction.* There are definitely some things in the tale most folks here probably never knew.* Ferinstance, did anybody know there was a Jewish-Hindu Trading Post in north Georgia more than 900 years ago?* Do you know the ancient meaning of Tallahassee or Tuscaloosa?* Probably not!* What about how ancient footballs were made?* Ever heard of Vijay Fiengold or*Hymie Patel?* Did you know that the Kama Sutra was read by Native Americans more than 900 years ago?* Probably not! What about a giant Marijuana plant called Gangesanus gianticus, the tallest plant that ever grew on earth? Can you imagine an eight mile tall Pot plant? Not even in your wildest dreams! It just keeps getting less believable. Oh yeah, I haven't mentioned that the cast of characters home base is "The Sorority House," the finest whorehouse in Florida, maybe the entire USA.

    If this isn't bad enough, "Hurricane Mary Nell" is bearing down on Florida.
     
  2. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Well, it isn't a foreword. Forewords are written by someone other than the author. I would call it a preface, if I had the task of labeling it. And I would only call it that because you have indicated you are placing it at the front of your work.

    Now regarding whether you should use it, it gets a little fuzzier. You include some interesting pieces. Jewish-Hindu Trading post in Georgia? I'm intrigued. However, as you highlight random nouns with which I am unfamiliar (accenting each one wit a "probably not!") I find my interest waning. I find my patience wearing thin. Were I in a bookstore, I would find myself putting the book back into the discount bin and continuing my search.

    When I read a preface, I am looking for an interesting story about how the book came to be or an interesting factoid about the author. If you read a book by Thomas Merton, you will find that his prefaces are fascinating and engaging. Merton talks about his life before entering a Trappist monastery (and what led him to enter said monastery) or the life changing event that changed his way of thinking. He also never says "ferinstance."

    The forewords to his books are written by some truly fascinating people (like Thich Nhat Hanh)who knew Thomas Merton when he was alive. They talk about interactions with the author and places they have seen together. ultimately, they make great books even better by adding something of value.

    What you have written reads more like a blurb I might find on the back of a dust jacket. It is a summary more than anything. And as far as summaries go, it doesn't encourage me to pick up the book and buy it. I have tried to read it three times and have only made it up to "Hymie Patel." After that point, logic kicks in and reminds me I don't have to read this and I stop.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The entire piece is highly affected and comes off as very amateurish, like a kid in junior high trying to show off how many weird facts he knows. Most of the "facts" are probably irrelevant to the story, and those that are relevant can and should be worked into the story. But I wouldn't be surprised if the 8 mile high (reference to the song by the Byrds?) pot plant was far more fascinating to you than to the reader.

    As James points out, the goal is to pull the reader into the story, to make him or her want to read more. Regardless of what you call it or where you put it, this doesn't do that. A good technique would be to take an important character, maybe the main character, and begin with him or her in the middle of some kind of action, or faced with a difficult problem, dilemma or crisis. Then take your stroy forward from there.
     
  4. captken
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    captken Member

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    Thanks for the replies and criticism. I can easily omit the introduction. Unfortunately the weird facts mentioned in the introduction are part of the tale. As the name of the tale implies, it starts out as a marijuana induced dream and it goes down hill from there. It was never meant to be a great literary work but simply a funny story.
     
  5. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Harsh but true. This was my reaction.
     

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