Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Prefaces and Introductions

Before, I have never bothered to read the prefaces or introductions of novels. I have always thought that these sections were useless, for they had nothing to do with the actual stories.

But I was wrong.

Today, when I started reading The Speaker for the Dead, I noticed its introduction. At first, I was going to skip the section, but for some reason I decided not to.

Anyway, the introduction was about the process in which the author, Orson Scott Card, wrote this novel. In the introduction, he described how he came up with the idea for the novel,  how he came up with the plot and the details of the novel, and many of the difficulties he has faced during the whole process.

For me, this introduction alone was more meaningful than several other novels combined. For one, it was only through reading this introduction that I learned the enormous amount of energy and thoughts that must be put into each novel. For example, before I read this introduction, I have never thought about how character development could be so difficult and complicated! For two, I believe that reading the introduction will help me understand the novel a lot better, for it provided the reason why the author even started writing this novel in the first place.

Furthermore, I feel that this introduction must be very important to the author too. He must have had so many things that he wanted to say about the novel, and without the introduction, how could he have communicated with us readers? I feel that he must have included an introduction because he wanted us to know why certain things in the novel are the way they are, and I am confident that he probably had a lot more to say than what he actually put in the introduction.

Ahh, I feel that I am going nowhere in this post. In short, today I realized that prefaces and introductions are an extremely important part of the novel. They allow the readers to understand how the novel came into being, and why certain things are the way they are. They allow the readers to read and think about the novel in a completely different way.