Footnotes for MG?

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Jaya
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Footnotes for MG?

Post by Jaya » May 10th, 2012, 8:41 am

In some YA or adult, this can work well (if done effectively and not "overdone" I guess anyway).

But could it work in MG? (to up the amusement, wittiness, sarcastic nature of MC)...or am I misjudging the audience and it wouldn't be well received (might be misunderstood? might deter young readers who'd rather just see the written page versus those little marks on the bottom which can sometimes remind one of a school text book :D

Thanks for any isight...I'm debating this in my head and think I ought to actually bounce it off others instead.

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dios4vida
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Re: Footnotes for MG?

Post by dios4vida » May 10th, 2012, 12:41 pm

Jonathan Stroud had footnotes in The Amulet of Samarkand which is MG, I believe. It was cute at first but after a while I felt like they got gimmicky and they eventually turned me off to the book (well, that and other things). Of course, I read it at age 28 rather than 8. But the entire trilogy was published and very well recieved, so once again it proves that anything can fly if done well.

I'm not sure if that actually answered your question or not, but I hope it helps for what it's worth.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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polymath
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Re: Footnotes for MG?

Post by polymath » May 10th, 2012, 2:34 pm

Whose voice are the footnotes in? Who do they address? And what's the time separation between the footnotes and the main action?

If the narrative voice of the footnotes is an author's, I think that voice could open narrative distance too wide for accessibility and participation mystique's sakes, regardless of audience. If the voice is an implied author's, maybe narrative distance isn't too wide for accessibility and participation mystique. If the voice is a narrator's, closing narrative in a little, maybe that's a stronger use. If the voice is a viewpoint character's, Barb's your aunt. Beautiful.

If the footnotes address readers directly, again, too wide a narrative distance. perhaps, for accessibility and participation mystique benefits. If the footnotes address a character, again, Barb's your aunt. Consider an apostrophe form for the footnotes. An apostrophe is a rhetorical figure that directly addresses a persona who is not present.

If there's considerable separation in relative or absolute time between the main action and the footnotes, willing suspension of disbelief could be compromised. Methods for managing time separation and who knows what when might require a complex dramatic structure. Say the footnotes enhance the main action by expressing commentary on what's known at the now time of the footnotes contrasting with the now time of the main action. Neither need be reliable, stronger if unreliable to a degree for each voice, but I think both the footnotes and the main action should come to a new and blended knowledge in the ending act.
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wordranger
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Re: Footnotes for MG?

Post by wordranger » May 11th, 2012, 9:57 pm

I can't see a footnote going over well in middle grade... or any grade for that matter. If I have to look something up, I have lost my "groove" and I've been tossed out of the story.

Personally, I would not want to do that to my reader. I want them engrossed.
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

Jaya
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Re: Footnotes for MG?

Post by Jaya » May 12th, 2012, 10:07 am

Thanks for the advice.
I've concluded that it doesn't work for MG (not with my amateur skills anyway). YA and adult, yes, I think it can work (if not taken to the extreme), but personally I can't get it right for MG...it would be annoying rather than entertaining.

I thought Sophie Kinsella made great use of it in "I've Got Your Number". And I remember a John Green book ("An Abundance of Katherines"?? Cannot remember it was long ago) made good use of it as well. But that's adult and YA. And they are Sophie Kinsella and John Green. And I am not. :mrgreen:

evernn
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Re: Footnotes for MG?

Post by evernn » May 18th, 2012, 1:06 am

stronger if unreliable to a degree for each voice, but I think both the footnotes and the main action should come to a new and blended knowledge in the ending act. ye good idea . mg

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