View Full Version : Adding a glossary for fiction

01-17-2013, 02:37 AM
I'm in the final stages of publishing my collection of short stories that are all set in Bombay (India). I use a fair amount of Hindi words, as they are in common use even among English speakers living in Bombay. My primary audience is likely to be people of Indian origin, but my editor suggested adding a glossary for other readers.

What do you think about using glossaries for international fiction? Does having one help?

01-17-2013, 02:41 AM
This may be a more Roundtable thread...

...but I read quite a bit of fiction that contains glossaries, maps, bibliographies or more informal Author's Notes about research, etc..



01-17-2013, 02:51 AM
Thanks--I recently read a novel written by a fantastic Australian writer, and she used a glossary very effectively for all the Aussie slang.

01-17-2013, 04:01 AM
the answer is yep do it. while common to the place you live most people in say the US will have no clue what you are saying. and it provides an opportunity to teach something to other peoples.

01-17-2013, 03:24 PM
I think a glossary is a good idea, but I would make it small and hard to find, not a centerpiece of the book.

I have mixed feelings about using tough words of any kind. Tolstoy used French, Faulkner dialect, and lots of people use semi-obscure technical words in their writing. For me, though, using "uncommon" words always seems to fudge up what I want to say.

It sounds like the intended audience will have no problem with your book. I would let it stand on its own for other people too, with the glossary there, but not easy to find, for folks who need help.