Hi, guys! I haven’t posted a discussion in a while, so I thought it’s about time for one, am I right? Today I want to discuss Character Lists & Maps. You know, those thingy’s sometimes in the front of books (mostly fantasy)? Yes, I’m sure there’s a specific name for these “thingy’s”. I just don’t know what it is!
At the front of some books, most often times in fantasy, you’ll find a map and possibly a list of characters, as well as their role in the story. These lists can be quite long and intimidating sometimes, and the maps quite complicated. Of course, it’s not a necessity that you utilize them. But that’s what they’re there for: REFERENCE. What I want to address today, is whether or not these long lists of characters, and complicated maps, are worth the trouble.
I know what you’re thinking… how could there possibly be any cons to such a helpful reference? Well, that’s the thing. Is it helpful? Let’s see…
→ You can get an idea of the characters beforehand aka Knowing What To Expect.
→ It’s not going anywhere. So if you need to flip back to the front to remember a location, or a character’s role in the story, it’s right there.
→ It can be fun! Checking out the map of a fantasy land can be entertaining, right?
→ It can get confusing. Yes, it sure can. There’s no way most of us will remember all those names and every location on the map… unless we sit there and study it for hours.
→ And who wants to keep flipping back to have to reference a character or location? (I don’t.)
→ If you do choose to keep flipping back to the front for reference, that can end up being pretty time consuming. Time you could be actually reading the book.
Ok, so it looks like we have a pretty even playing field with our pros and cons. Let’s talk about it…
For me, I don’t think I have one time in my life read a character list all the way through, or sat and studied one of the maps in my books. Maybe this is a bad thing. Maybe I should. But I’ve never had a problem understanding the books even though I didn’t go through that process. In my opinion, I could take or leave the long character lists and the maps. I, personally, don’t utilize them. I always skip past. But I want to hear from you guys…
How do you feel about character lists and maps? Do you utilize them? Have they helped you better comprehend a story? Or are you like me, and skip past them without ever referencing back to them?
So let me know below if Character Lists and Maps are…