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Writing Advice & Discussion > Where to put a glossary

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message 1: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Frediani When I'm reading a physical book, front/back doesn't matter. I know it's one place or the other and can find it easily enough when/if I need it. Ebooks are another matter entirely. I (personally) find them more difficult to use no matter where they are. It's easier for me to stick my finger between pages while I look at the glossary than it is to "bookmark" an electronic page and move to wherever the glossary is located. But that's me and I admit to being a bit "old-fashioned."

My first reader said to put the glossary in the front. He was reading the one hardcopy I have printed up. One of my beta readers, with an electronic copy suggested putting it at the end. Six of one, half dozen of the other, hence my question.

Where do you, as a reader, prefer to find a glossary in a book you're reading? Before the story? After the story?


message 2: by Dorothyeross (new)

Dorothyeross | 39 comments In a physical book, it doesn't matter. In an ebook, I prefer it up front. Then I know it is there, and can bookmark it to return to.


message 3: by Sean (new)

Sean | 8 comments In one of Bill Simmons books, the glossary/notes were on the far sides of the page...that was awfully handy


message 4: by Angelina (new)

Angelina Kerner I'd suggest adding a glossary page at the beginning of each chapter. That way it's creative, accessible, and the reader does not need to go back to the beginning or to the end and know which terms were used for that chapter.


message 5: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Frediani Angelina wrote: "I'd suggest adding a glossary page at the beginning of each chapter. That way it's creative, accessible, and the reader does not need to go back to the beginning or to the end and know which terms ..."

Isn't that disruptive to the flow of the reading? Once I get drawn into a book, I barely notice chapter changes. A glossary page would pull me to a halt very quickly.

It's not like there are a whole lot of "foreign" words in the story. (I write fantasy.) Mostly they're names/titles and once the connection is made the glossary isn't needed again. I try to be sure the meanings can be gleaned from the context, but in some cases more is needed...or maybe not. I don't know, that's why I asked.


message 6: by Angelina (new)

Angelina Kerner I think this way, readers want us to be creative. I've heard of fiction stories having cooking recipes at the end of chapters. In one not published work, each chapter ends with a diary poem of my main character.

At the end of my novel "Deity's Soulmate," I have guides to characters and places.

Since it is fantasy, I would suggest to use terms that either self explanatory or have the explanation inside the descriptive paragraph. Go to a bookstore and pick up 20 fantasy books and see about if they have glossary sections and where. I think that will help the most.


message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) Dorothyeross wrote: "In a physical book, it doesn't matter. In an ebook, I prefer it up front. Then I know it is there, and can bookmark it to return to."

I'd put it at the back of the book, or it would "eat" away half the sample... e-books usually allow the sampling of the beginning and if you clutter it with glossary or what I call "publisher shit" (like in one case, 60% of the sample was publisher shit, they lost the sale), you might not give enough to the reader to want to buy your book. I do add it to the ToC, though, so you'll know it's there! (and I usually put short ToC at the beginning, even with ebooks - long ones, everything at the end for the reason above...)


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