Saturday, June 01, 2013

To Appendix or not to Appendix

I’ve passed 47,000 words now on Wraith of Talera, the fourth Taleran book. This will mark the start of a new duology. By now, as is probably common with Sword and Planet kinds of series, I’ve built up a tremendous amount of information about the planet Talera. I keep what I call a “Taleran Encyclopedia,” which has details on characters, races, plants and animals, language, cities and countries, games, religions etc. I need it to keep everything straight.

At some point in many fantasy series, the author includes an appendix or two at the end of a volume providing at least some of this kind of information to the readers. It’s in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Alan Burt Akers did it for Kregen. There’s something like it for the Barsoom series by ERB. I personally like it when such things are included and was thinking about adding such an appendix to this fourth book. Here’s  an example of a potential entry, as it exists in my current “encyclopedia.”

Curse words and phrases:  There are many more:
    Dahh – Generally translated as Damn.
    Dihmus vishka – Possible translation is “god in heaven.”
    Krutt – Used as a curse because the habits of the insect are so disgusting to many.   
    Lart – Rodent (You Rat).  Generally considered a mild curse.
    Ruck (Ruckers) – Worthless ones.  
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Est Yaal shei = go to hell.
Ivid Yaal shei = What the hell?
Sae Yaal shei = Oh hell, or, by hell.

What do you think? Would you enjoy such a thing? Does it seem superfluous, or like an interesting element that increases the believability factor for the stories.
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30 comments:

Lisa said...

As I noted on Facebook, I find such things interesting and useful. As a series goes on and becomes longer, some small details may slip my mind, and an appendix is a good way to refresh the memory.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since you've created new words, I think it would be very helpful. Sometimes a list of people and places helps as well.

Aimless Writer said...

Yes, I think this is a great addition to a series. It would be appreciated by anyone who reads the books. It might even draw some people into reading them.
And now I know how to curse in Taleran :)
Krutt!
But I need a pronunciation guide for Est Yaal shei

Cloudia said...

A young Author ncurrentlybeing lauded for his book set in a place he's never been, with a protagonist of a different race and experience said he did a lot of research. "It doesn't all make it to the page, but it makes it into the writer.". Or some such. Comforted me about the research that is 'wasted'
Having said that, your fans would love out:-)

Aloha

Cloudia said...

Would love it

Sphinx Ink said...

Absolutely, yes, do an Appendix!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, with original words like these it'd be a good idea to have an appendix. What was the response to the first three Taleran books which, I assume, didn't have an appendix?

Riot Kitty said...

That is totally cool! Yes, I would enjoy that. As a reader it would also help me understand. As an aside, I hate it when authors slip in phrases or quotes in another language with no translation.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lisa, I think so too. I always make note of which series book has that kind of thing in it so I can refer back when needed.

Alex, I've been putting a character list in since the beginning but the other stuff I haven't

Aimless, a pronunciation guide is a good idea.

Cloudia, I have a lot of fun coming up with this stuff anyway.

Sphinx, It looks like the votes aer solidly for it.

Prashant, no appendix in the first three books but I did include footnotes in places. This would take the place of that.

Riot Kitty, if the alien word is clear from context, like a curse, I don't mind. but otherwise I do want to know what the phrase means.

Chris said...

I'm always into that kind of thing when it's provided.

H&H said...

I think it sounds like a great idea for readers. If I'm into a series enough to read all four books, I would definitely enjoy an appendix that provides additional insight and new information.

Have you thought about publishing the encyclopedia as a whole separate volume? I bet there would be a good market for that among Talera readers.

- Greg

Ty Johnston said...

As a younger reader, I loved such details, but nowadays I tend to skim them at best. Doesn't mean there's not a market for such material. Fans would probably love it. I've even considered releasing a stand-alone encyclopedia of my fantasy world.

Charles Gramlich said...

Chris, cool. Another vote for pro!

Greg, I think those kinds of things, companions to series, are usually only published when someone or their series gets really big and well known. Although I could do it sometimes as a 99 cent ebook for fans certainly. That's an idea.

Ty, I hadn't thought of a standalone encyclopedia until you and Greg mentioned it. It's definitely an idea.

the walking man said...

It might be coming down to a point where you have no choice but to include it. How much new language are you coming up with? The more you make the more necessary it becomes.

G. B. Miller said...

I would have no problem with it, in fact, I would probably use it while I was reading the books.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, there's quite a bit of new language in the whole series. I generally explain the first time in context or give an actual explanation, but I may use the new words again later so a good reference would help.

G. B., I always have fun coming up with the stuff too.

Deka Black said...

I'm with Lisa, do it!

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, will do!

Oscar said...

It sounds good an proper to me. The readers have to know what you are writing or it becomes gibberish.

laughingwolf said...

seems to work for some tales - would work here, methinks....

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, thanks. I hope it will be fun for some at least.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am always grateful for any help I can get with a novel set in another time, place. Or a huge cast of characters. I could sure uses one for Game of Thrones.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, I'm sure there's probably a Game of Thrones companion book in the works.

Anonymous-9 said...

I think it's a great idea to publish the encyclopedia as an adjunct to the novels. U can put it out there as an e-book without a lot of risk.

RK Sterling said...

Cool - I always appreciate and read those types of things in books.

Paul R. McNamee said...

The funny thing about such appendices is that - as a reader, I get this prejudice that the author hasn't told the story well enough if I need to keep flipping to the back of the book to understand things.

Now, that you explain it is a matter of a long running series building up all this data, I see it a different light. That is something different from say, book one of a projected series loaded with an appendix. That also makes me wonder if the author is not deft at disseminating backstory but they also a want to avoid up-front data dumping.

So, I think maybe a separate concordance might be better for such a body of data.

Erik Donald France said...

I think it's a great idea to include an appendix or similar; and in this case, it's also got humor to carry things along quickly.

Charles Gramlich said...

Anonymous, I could do that. would have to coordinate with the publisher. I might look into that.

RK, I like them too.

Paul, good point. I'm thinking most of it is pretty well explained in the book itself but the entries provide some further details and also background for the first three books. I'll have to look at exactly how I'm using the entries.

Erik, humor is always a nice addition.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I like the idea of the appendix. I'm happy you're making good progress in the 4th book, especially with our enemy time attaining warp speed all too frequently. :)

Travis Cody said...

I love a good appendix. Peter Jackson is getting 3 movies out of The Hobbit by raiding Tolkien's appendix material.