Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Writing - Informative afterwords

It is an interesting fact that authors sometimes feel the need to place at the end of their fiction, factual information to underpin their stories. Dan Brown did it with the Da Vinci Code for example.

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MH370

I am very close to writing the end of Flight to Nowhere which is a Steele novel developed around a theory concerning Malaysian flight MH370. It is undoubtedly a piece of fiction but I am considering a factual summary of the events surrounding the disappearance of the aeroplane.

I have read many historical novels which have informative afterwords or epilogues to support the fiction that preceded them.

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Is it necessary to write such an epilogue?

It is a term that throws me back to my childhood when the epilogue on TV was what preceded the National Anthem before the little white dot disappeared from the centre of the screen. Now for those born after about 1965 there should be an explanatory epilogue to the previous sentence!
It could be argued that if the story was well written that an epilogue should be unnecessary, but by writing this factual type of final section, the reader has the option of reading it or not. Also some may feel that they have had their appetite's whetted for more information by the story and so the epilogue has a positive place.

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What do we expect to achieve by writing such a section?

This is more about the relationship between the reader and the author. If the author is expecting to sell more books by adding factual information, they may be disappointed, on the other hand if the reader finds a section that demonstrates the author cares that his readers are given all the information they deserve, you never know. Once again there is no compulsion for the reader to delve into that section.

Afterword

Definition: a concluding section or commentary.

Of course you could have someone else write your afterword or, in the case of a factual piece, credit the source of the information. I have in fact produced an epilogue in a previous story but which was part of the fiction. Stieg Larsson uses that ploy in his Lisbeth Salander trilogy. However, on this occasion, the piece will be true and there is much research to be done to achieve factual verisimilitude.

My sources so far have been news reports from various media sources. In using such sources it soon awakens you to the different spin one source will put on a story in comparison with another. This type of research has to be undertaken more carefully as a result and is probably the reason we have so many conspiracy theorists and a growing number of 'preppers'!

So as I begin one of the fictional final chapters there is an inexplicable bubble of excitement inside me at trying to collate all the information that has been written about the demise of flight MH370.

God Bless