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When I write a fic, especially a pre-series fic, I end up doing way more research than I planned. Then I want pass it all on to you, the reader, because it's oh so fascinating. I partially blame my English teachers for their many, many classroom hours spent hammering on footnotes, and the fact that I've always written non-fiction until recently. However, I don't see anybody else listing twelve (12!) factoids at the end of their stories, the way I did on my last one.

Poll #1356765 Footnotes, end notes, author notes

So, how do you feel about all these end notes on my historical fics?

Who cares about all that boring detail?
Thanks for the info, but I could have used it at the beginning.
I already knew all that stuff, so why are you wasting my time?
It’s kinda interesting, but I’m glad you didn’t force me to slog through it at the beginning.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
Hey, there's no I always love learning new things option!
Feb. 27th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Doesn't "it's kinda interesting" mean the same thing? Or, am I spending too much time living with a teenage girl? I've learned to look for the hidden positives, you see.
Feb. 27th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
LOL, kinda interesting to me means Meh, it's not that bad. I find additional facts interesting; it's like readers are let in on a secret or something.

And it's entirely possible that I'm making no sense :D
Feb. 27th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
Makes sense to me! I'm glad you like the factoids. I think there is a reason my readers are my readers, if you know what I mean.

BTW, you're are totally being let in on a secret in these little notes. I'm thinking of issuing decoder rings!
Feb. 28th, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
YAY, decoder rings!!!! (God, I'm such a nerd, lol)
Feb. 27th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Too hard on yourself! I suppose some potential readers may be put off, but many will be like me: we know some of this stuff but not all. Some of the unknowns we can deduce or barely matters, other aspects are fascinating or crucial and a note is really welcome.

In your last fic, it was the carnival colours/symbolism bit which I didn't know and which finished off the story for me nicely with the note.

But then, I have a history background and love to absorb extra facts with my fic!
Feb. 27th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
This is a great point. Those with a history background will appreciate it, those that don't may not read it. But there's always the people who love the history.
Feb. 27th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
I think there must quite a few history buffs on my f-list, which makes all kinds of sense.

I didn't think I was being hard on myself at all! I just wanted to know if people liked the notes where they are, would rather have them before diving into the story, or didn't want them at all because a) they don't care, or b) they are far more knowledgable than me.

The real question, that I didn't ask, is whether all these factoids should be folded into the story. I shudder at too much exposition, though, so it's not gonna happen. It takes a writer with more skill than I presently possess to explain everything and not make it boring or insulting.

Thanks for your comments!
Feb. 27th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Jo aka The Librarian who wrote the Nature of the Beast series does very extensive footnotes on historical and mythological factoids. You are not alone!

I'd like to second that I'd have chosen the "I always love learning new things" option. :)
Feb. 27th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
¡Yay! I'm not alone! And neither are you! There's loads of us that still seek the knowledge! Thanks for commenting!
Feb. 27th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
None of those answers quite fit. I like the footnotes and would happily read them both before and after, though I think they're probably better after.
Feb. 27th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
Well, see, that's just the info I was looking for, stripped of the self-deprecating foot shuffling. Though if you'd like to say something a smidge more critical, I won't be offended. Not that you have to, of course.
Mar. 1st, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
But I don't really have anything critical to say. What were you looking for exactly?
Feb. 27th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
So far I've known a fairish bit of it. So while I appreciate the notes for the stuff I don't know, I think it works better as end notes.
Feb. 27th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there's stuff that's fairly common (and translations that are widely known), which is why I don't like to clutter the story with too many explanations. However, I was reading this great story that had Angel thinking of Spike as his Ganymede, and I couldn't quite pull the reference out of my brain, and so Googled instead. It was all very informative, but a quick note at the end of the story would've saved me opening a new tab. *shrug* I like to Google, but I figure if I already have, I might as well save my readers the trouble.

Thanks for commenting!
Feb. 27th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
Footnotes are always cool. :)

Angel thinking of Spike as his Ganymede

Hee! Dunno as Spike would find that flattering. *g*
Feb. 27th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
Heh. But doesn't it make sense for the big brooder to see himself as Zeus? Ponce.

Footnotes are always cool.

Oh lordy! I am ashamed that I agree so whole-heartedly! I think it's why I got so drawn in to "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius".
Feb. 27th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
You don't have an option for "give me as much info as possible." *tsks* :P
Feb. 27th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
Oh you just want as much everything as possible, don't you, you little minx?

Don't worry, I'll keep putting in the notes. I just wanted to know where to put them, really. (And I hope nobody takes the bait with that opening.)
Mar. 4th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
I refuse to take this extremely jaundiced poll! ::pounds table:: Where's the button for "I loooove footnotes. Gimme!" (Srsly, I read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell twice in a row because I wanted to pay more attention to the footnotes.) Anyway, I like your notes, and I think they're good right where you have 'em.

Now I'm going to go f/b! I swear to god that my attempts to give your latest fic some love have been interrupted no less than six times.
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Heh. I didn't realize I was being jaundiced. I thought I was just narrowly avoiding "putting on airs".

It seems there are a fair few of us who get all excited by footnotes. And, here on LJ, we've found each other! It's a newly discovered kink! I hope it appears on the kink bingo sheet next round!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )



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