Do you like Character Libraries at the Beginning of Books?

Do you like it when, like in the older American girl books for example, the characters and their names are shown in the beginning of the book? I can’t think of anything else to call it but a character library.

I think the American Girl style character library feels a little juvenile… I’m not sure how I’d feel if I saw one in a YA or adult novel. Part of me wants to say I’d find it nostalgic but, again, I would also find it a bit juvenile I think. An advantage to that is I wouldn’t spend half of a book imagining a character having short blonde hair only to find out later that they actually have long brown hair. I think it’s a decision that would come during the process of publishing though so if you’re looking to use making a character library as an excuse to procrastinate creating/writing more, I’d advise against that (just because I’ve had to learn to recognize when my side projects involving writing have been attempts to procrastinate creating, and this feels like something I’d do :grin:. I don’t want to generalize though).

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It is helpful in some cases, e.g. screenplays or stories for younger readers, it helps. In the American girl books, it works, but in a longer novel or a dramatic story, it might be best to leave it out, as it might seem more professional. However, in a first-person perspective story, it might be fun to add one.

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Hmm, I’m not sure about a character library, but a pronunciation guide if there are difficult character or place names can be really helpful!

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I do think it is best for children’s books. However, it could be useful for really dense or long/long-running books or series with lots of characters (some of them infrequently occurring; I can think of lengthy series with a few main characters, cameo type characters that show up every few books or so, and lots of little characters and history where it would be helpful.). I think I would avoid it unless necessary, but it could be helpful in some cases. I made my own character libraries while reading a couple books (the Silmarillion and War and [name_u]Peace[/name_u]) when I was a kid.

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I absolutely have those little side projects related to a piece of writing that I use to procrastinate. A character library sounds right up my alley.

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I think I like them… I don’t like that they would have pictures of the characters, bc for most books I want to imagine them myself!

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I like them! I think they are especially helpful if the books are historic because people historically named everyone in the family after other family members making it difficult to tell characters apart.

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I like how in the first Miss [name_u]Peregrine[/name_u]’s home for peculiar children book, they don’t have it and they let you find it out naturally, but in the second they do have it because it is an intricate story with lots of characters with powers and stuff to remember, so if you took a while between reading each book, it would be helpful to have that to remember. However, I generally wouldn’t do it for a first book.

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Most definitely not just for juvenile fiction. [name_f]My[/name_f] copies of War and [name_u]Peace[/name_u] and Brothers Karamazov have character libraries, to name just two books. And I love them. Especially for something like a Russian novel, where characters have multiple names, and the nicknaming conventions are foreign to us [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers.

I also love them b/c, despite being an uber name geek, I have a very difficult time actually remembering names, both in fiction and in life. I have excellent face recognition, and can remember all the minute details you share with me about your family, so I can fake it if I run into you on the street. But in a novel, it’s much more difficult. Pick up something Victorian, like a Trollope novel, and I’m lost a few chapters in - who are these people! even if these people are the main characters.

So I’m a huge fan of character libraries. [name_f]Do[/name_f] it.

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I definitely enjoy having a list of name pronunciations and characters’ roles within the story (e.g. their relationship to the main character or what faction they belong to, if that fits the story). Having pictures of the characters does feel more like a children’s book, though.

I like them!

I’ve seen a few in YA books, and if done right I really like them. If your characters have powers it can be nice to list there name and power at beginning of book, (like Renegades by [name_f]Marissa[/name_f] [name_m]Meyer[/name_m] and [name_u]Michel[/name_u] Vey by [name_m]Richard[/name_m] [name_m]Paul[/name_m] [name_m]Evans[/name_m].) I think it all depends on the story.

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What If I did like the Warriors books that my sister is obsessed with and listed the tribes and their members? All the members of each kin (tribe) of elves have the same powers escept for wildkin, who each have the powers of a particular animal. So what are you thoughts?

I think that would be useful!

I think that would work!

I think they can be useful. I wpuldnt want long detailed descriptions, like appearance and personality. However, something like the appendices in Game of Thrones are useful in keeping track of large casts of characters, and who is related to who. The [name_u]Owl[/name_u] Killers by [name_f]Karen[/name_f] Maitland also has a list of characters, broken down into the main groups (‘villagers’ ‘the manor’ ‘the beguinage’ etc). This can be helpful, but most characters should be described in a line, maybe two.

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I think it’s helpful to have a guide in the back for magical creatures in the story, but that’s not really the same.