While I’ve been working through Katie’s edits on Starveyors, she brought to my attention the importance of the pre-chapter quotes that I have been using in these books. Here is what she said about the one I used for Chapter 17 (Click to Enlarge):
The idea to include these realistic quotes from fictional works came from a friend of mine who reads much more Fantasy than I do. He suggested that they would help the reader become more involved in the story by adding to the world building. He was right. Thanks Scott!
As Katie indicated in her comment, they can also convey a bunch of useful information in a way that doesn’t feel like an info dump. But more than that, they also let me the writer, more fully develop certain POV characters by sampling what they had to say about the events that were taking place in the chapter.
The keys to doing this effectively are to keep the quote relevant to the action in the chapter and to keep it short. Also, you can’t reveal to the reader any surprises that may have not come yet. That can be a challenge.
One thing that I have not been able to pull off yet is to add to the narrative in a substantial way with each chapter quote. The idea would be to tell a subplot with Twitter-like sound bites. If the novel was told from a single POV, that might be possible. Similar to journal entries by the protagonist. As cool as that might be to pull off from a nerdy writer perspective, I don’t think it would work in this particular Space Opera series. Having different points of view in the quotes really does add to the world building. Or in this case, the universe building.
STARVEYORS – by Ken McConnell, available this December, from GB Press.