Chapters in Discworld Books

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Chapters in Discworld Books

Postby poohbcarrot » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:13 am

I think this topic deserves its own thread, because it's something I feel strongly about. What do you think?

Tony said;

That's where the chapters like in Going Postal and Making Money come in handy - it makes it easier to find stuff.

Batty said;

I agree, Tony. The chapters 'tasters' are enjoyable too.
Going Postal, chapter seven:
The Invention of the Hole - Mr Lipwig Speaks Out - The Wizard in a Jar - A discussion of Lord Vetinari's back side - A Promise to Deliver - Mr Hobson's Boris

You just have to keep reading with an introduction like that!

I said;

I don't like chapters and especially don't like the little tasters. It seems patronising, like a "dumbing down", as if my attention span is so short and the book so inferior, that the book has to beg me to keep reading it.

To be honest, I thought the chapters only started to be used when Sir Pterry started to get more popular in the US.
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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:56 am

The use of tasters at the start of chapters is by no means a new thing - although it's new to Terry. Jonanthan Swift was using them in 1726 when he wrote Gulliver's Travels.

Let me clear up my point - I find them useful to look up a passage in the book AFTER I've read it once. Personally I didn't even bother to read them when I was reading the book for the first time and made a point to ignore them.

I never (for example) read the preview chapter for the author's next book that you sometimes find at the end of books. If I want to read that book, then I'll go and get it.

I honestly don't know why Terry has started doing this thing. It sort of gives it a period feeling that fits in with the stage of development that A-M is at. But apart from the use for referencing that I mentioned, I'm not awfully fond of it. I really don't feel it has anything to do with an larger American audience - see my point about Jonathan Swift. :)

My advice - if you don't like it - ignore it.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:00 am

Or more disturbing perhaps, Sir Terry's been doing this for a while on his drafts because he now needs to keep notes of the plot so far and the publishing bods think it looks rather neat and started to put them on the proofs?
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Postby Batty » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:04 pm

I still have to say that I like them. The obvious solution though, is to ignore them if you don't want to read them and jump straight to the chapter, so both the 'Fors' and the 'Againsts' are satisfied.

I was surprised when Terry started using them, as it seemed so sudden and unexpected, but when he types something like 'a discussion of Vetinari's backside' then it just makes me smile and look forward to what is about to happen.
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Postby Cheery » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:05 pm

I seriously don't care about chapters. It doesn't matter if a book's got them or not, if it's at least good book. But I think the tasters are quite amusing, because you don't really have an idea what they're about until you read it. Your imagination comes up with some pretty funny ideas. Especially with hints like "a discussion about Lord Vetinaris backside". :lol:
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Postby Cheery » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:06 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Or more disturbing perhaps, Sir Terry's been doing this for a while on his drafts because he now needs to keep notes of the plot so far and the publishing bods think it looks rather neat and started to put them on the proofs?


I think he just wanted to try something new and liked the idea about it.
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Postby superfurryandy » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:21 pm

I remember the idiot academic and cultural elitist Tom Paulin once slagged Terry off cos he didn't write in chapters. So, presumably he'll be happy.
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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:31 pm

superfurryandy wrote:I remember the idiot academic and cultural elitist Tom Paulin once slagged Terry off cos he didn't write in chapters. So, presumably he'll be happy.
That's actually on one of the blurbs on Interesting Times:

Tom Paulin, on BBC 2's Late Review wrote:A complete amateur ... doesn't even write in chapters ... hasn't a clue


It just goes to show that when you have your head up your own arse as far as Mr Paulin, it's difficult to see anything. :lol:
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Postby Dotsie » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:37 pm

Tonyblack wrote: It sort of gives it a period feeling that fits in with the stage of development that A-M is at.


I think you're right. I don't usually read the tasters because it slows the pace of the book. But I don't care either way.

The first time I read the "doesn't even write in chapters" quote I laughed and laughed. Book critic - they just give these jobs away!
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Postby Cheery » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:37 pm

Tonyblack wrote:
superfurryandy wrote:I remember the idiot academic and cultural elitist Tom Paulin once slagged Terry off cos he didn't write in chapters. So, presumably he'll be happy.
That's actually on one of the blurbs on Interesting Times:

Tom Paulin, on BBC 2's Late Review wrote:A complete amateur ... doesn't even write in chapters ... hasn't a clue


It just goes to show that when you have your head up your own arse as far as Mr Paulin, it's difficult to see anything. :lol:


He doesn't just not see anything, he's totally blind! USE YOUR EYES MR PAULIN :shock:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:23 pm

What is they say?

Those that can, do - those who can't become critics (or teach *runs and hides from pooh*) :lol:
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Postby poohbcarrot » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:27 pm

By not using chapters, TP was a rebel who was going against the accepted norm. I respected that. Now he's conforming to (I believe) please the US market. Fair enough. If he makes a load of money, good for him. He deserves it.

But it's like Johnny Rotten doing that recent TV advert. The ultimate anti-social anarchist dressed as an English gentleman promoting butter FFS!

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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:39 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:By not using chapters, TP was a rebel who was going against the accepted norm. I respected that. Now he's conforming to (I believe) please the US market. Fair enough. If he makes a load of money, good for him. He deserves it.

I don't see your reasoning for saying that about the US market. Terry's books have sold extremly well in the US in non-chapter format for a very long time.

The books have always been largely unchanged in the US versions and Harper Collins (his US publisher) seems to have been perfectly happy. I really don't see Terry changing just to please them - if anything he'd probably dig his heals in more firmly.

I have no evidence, but I suspect that it's just something that Terry wanted to try. :?
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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:58 pm

This is from a Wikipedia article about Terry:

Pratchett has a tendency to avoid using chapters, arguing in a Book Sense interview that "life does not happen in regular chapters, nor do movies, and Homer did not write in chapters", adding "I'm blessed if I know what function they serve in books for adults." However, there have been exceptions; Going Postal and Making Money and several of his books for younger readers are divided into chapters.


And this is from another Wikipedia article about Discworld books:

Very few of the Discworld novels have chapter divisions, instead featuring interweaving story-lines. Pratchett is quoted as saying that he "just never got into the habit of chapters", later adding that "I have to shove them in the putative YA books because my editor screams until I do". However, the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was divided into "books", as is Pyramids. Additionally, Going Postal and Making Money do indeed have chapters, prologue, epilogue, and brief teasers of what is to come in each chapter, in the style of A. A. Milne, Jules Verne and Jerome K. Jerome.



It seems from my reading of that, that Terry has included chapters in the children's/young adults books at the demand of his editors - whether that's Random House or Harper Collins, I don't know.

The use of chapters in Going Postal and Making Money seems to be an experiment in style rather than a demand by publishers. :?

Terry Pratchett Wiki here

Discworld Wiki here
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Postby poohbcarrot » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:17 pm

Pratchett is quoted as saying that he "just never got into the habit of chapters", later adding that "I have to shove them in the putative YA books because my editor screams until I do".


So self-admission he succumbs to editorial pressure. It is reasonable to assume it isn't UK editorial pressure.

Is it at all possible his US editors scream at him until he puts chapters in the adult books?
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