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View Full Version : Prefacing text before chapters - Okay to withhold?



Saint09
01-04-2012, 03:53 PM
I figured an agent might be able to answer this better than anyone.

With my current WIP, each chapter is prefaced with a journal entry. Kind of like how some novels have a quote, poem, or song that preface the chapter and somehow relates/applies to the content of that chapter. I always consider that stuff "fluff" for the reader to read if they so choose...and that's almost the same in my case. While they won't have to read them to understand the story, it will be hugely rewarding if they do, and will give them a nice little "Easter egg", so to speak.

I'm wondering if an agent would get irritated if I sent in a partial that excluded those prefacing entries? Would they consider it "sneaky"? Basically, I want their first impression to be on the chapter content itself, not the author of the journals. And if I do exclude it, should I be honest and mention so in my query letter?

Any advice is much appreciated!

areteus
01-04-2012, 05:41 PM
I would say the novel you send them should be the novel you expect to see in the final print. If you think the prefaces will prejudice a publisher or agent against your chapter then chances are they will also prejudice a reader.

You might have to ask yourself 'do I really need these in there?' which is a question a beta may be able to answer. If they risk detracting from the chapter then they may be a liability. If it is a few lines it should not be an issue but I think you do need to properly assess them.

Most agents are good enough to see through things like this. They may ask you take them out or edit them but I don't think they would reject a good novel on the basis of that.

Saint09
01-04-2012, 06:21 PM
I would say the novel you send them should be the novel you expect to see in the final print. If you think the prefaces will prejudice a publisher or agent against your chapter then chances are they will also prejudice a reader.

You might have to ask yourself 'do I really need these in there?' which is a question a beta may be able to answer. If they risk detracting from the chapter then they may be a liability. If it is a few lines it should not be an issue but I think you do need to properly assess them.

Most agents are good enough to see through things like this. They may ask you take them out or edit them but I don't think they would reject a good novel on the basis of that.

That's how I would prefer it to be. I'd rather them be in from the beginning, then take them out if I must, rather than try to spring it on them. I'm sure I'll find out a lot more during the beta stage.

leahzero
01-04-2012, 07:01 PM
I'm with areteus. If you want to exclude them from the agent, why are they even there in the first place? You could just include them as an appendix or epilogue.

Jennifer_Laughran
01-04-2012, 07:09 PM
I honestly don't think it matters. You're overthinking it.

Why don't you NOT include it in the sample pages, so that you have more room for the meat of your story.

Then if you get a full request, send the manuscript the way you want to see it in print (ie, WITH the epigraphs)

Saint09
01-05-2012, 08:49 AM
I honestly don't think it matters. You're overthinking it.

Why don't you NOT include it in the sample pages, so that you have more room for the meat of your story.

Then if you get a full request, send the manuscript the way you want to see it in print (ie, WITH the epigraphs)

That'd be the sole reason why I'd leave them out. Not because I'd be worried the entries were not appealing enough, but because I'd want them to see more of the story, especially since most only want the first 5 pages with the query.

Anywho, I'll worry about it when the time comes. Just figured an agent might have an opinion on it :D I'm sure it's one of the typical "some will care, some won't" answers.

Giant Baby
01-05-2012, 09:03 AM
Pssst... An agent did just have an opinion on it (see entry above your last). Good luck!

Saint09
01-05-2012, 12:23 PM
Pssst... An agent did just have an opinion on it (see entry above your last). Good luck!

Haha, yes she did. And I'm very grateful. Much easier than wasting an agent's time to email a question like that in. My big silly green grin after I said that was for her ;).