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Question for Everyone.

Recently, a copy of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys arrived. It'll probably get reading when I need some empty brain space in the next few weeks, since I quite like Gaiman in that candy way.

But what surprised me with the book was that it came with an 'extras' section, rather like the extras on a DVD. A cheap DVD, sure, but there is a deleted scene, extracts from Gaiman's notebook, an interview, and some reading group discussion questions. I've always thought the last was a bit ridiculous, since people are quite capable of discussing a book amongst themselves in their own way. If you need prompts, perhaps reading something as candy like as a Gaiman novel isn't what you should be doing here, y'know?

But never mind that, it was the deleted scene and notebook photocopies that struck me of interest, and got me thinking about the idea of actually having an extras section in the Dialogues chapbook that myself and K. are getting together, finally, after a few fits and starts. Mentioning that here will probably be the death of it, but just in case anyone remembers, there you go. (A pair of them were used in the experimental writing cause I tute in this semester, and they seemed to go well, which gave me a bit of renewed faith, plus K's participation have been quite inspirational.) Anyhow, what I'm thinking with the extras is an intimate section with the creators at the back of the book that complimented the work, perhaps, with offcuts and commentary about the creation.

I know a lot of you buy DVDS for the extras, so I'm wondering what, if anything, you would like to see in the extra section of prose work?

Give me your thoughts.

Comments

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girliejones
Oct. 27th, 2005 07:08 am (UTC)
I dunno. What's the point of extras in a book? Surely the stuff that was deleted because, you know, it shouldn't have been there? On a DVD the deleted scenes are stuff that gets cut because of time limits but might be an extra scene that gives insight into the episode (of a TV show). Surely stuff like that would get left in a book if it was needed and included stuff that made it too long, at the end would defeat the purpose?
benpeek
Oct. 27th, 2005 07:14 am (UTC)
well, things get deleted for a lot of reasons. a scene can be taken out of a novel because it slows the pace down, because it doesn't contribute to anything int he novel, and so forth. scenes aren't always removed from movies because of time--and a lot of added scenes are just there for that extra bit, to give the viewer more, to give their viewing experience something more than just the film.

in relation to what we're doing, there's art that is drawn but cut when put together because it doesn't work. there's original bits of text that gets removed and rewritten. there are different designs for the words. but i'm not suggesting just deleted scenes, or deleted parts. it would be rather a look at the creation of the work, the concerns, almost like commentary on it.
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(Anonymous)
Oct. 27th, 2005 07:55 am (UTC)
You know, when I had to choose between the hardcover and the trade paperback, I picked the tpb, because I already had the tpb of American Gods and ... well, you know, I like things to match.

So I got the extras, too, and they didn't turn out to be quite what I expected (I flipped through them in the store, but didn't read very closely).

My favourite bit is the notebook, and the interview comes a close second.

I agree with what you said to Alisa - if you're going to put extras in a book, it should be ... ephemera, stuff that isn't needed to enjoy the work, but gives insights into the creative process.

Having said that, I don't even look at the extras on the DVDs I own, so the idea of extras in a book seems a little ... unnecessary.

I say leave them out and make the book cheaper.

Leave them out, and concentrate on making the book better.

Do both!
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benpeek
Oct. 27th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)
heh. right.

the extras part is not the kind of thing that would really add to the cost of the book. and this is part of making it a better book--it's all part of that lengthy process, yes.
speshal_k
Oct. 27th, 2005 09:23 am (UTC)
*Inspirational*!

I think the DVD Extras idea is great. However, I've just realised that I don't actually buy DVDs. So I probably shouldn't be suggesting what goes in it.

(I do understand the 'mentioning it will be the death of it' though. I don't think I can mention it til it's finished, at the very earliest).
benpeek
Oct. 27th, 2005 12:01 pm (UTC)
*Inspirational*!

yay!

i don't reckon there's much to mention till it's all done, really. but i figured seeing how this idea played with people would just give me a way of working out in my head. all thinking aloud, y'know?
tanuja
Oct. 27th, 2005 10:51 am (UTC)
I quite like the idea of having an "ephemeral gubbins"(tm Mil Millington) bit at the back of a book, when you can let your audience know how much you loved/despised xx character, or just a general Q&A with the authors. I would prefer something silly rather than something sensible and normal, but that is just my preference.
benpeek
Oct. 27th, 2005 12:02 pm (UTC)
cool, thanks.

i don't know if an interview would work--since the reader has gone through eight dialogues beforehand, do they really want another?
fetishpunk
Oct. 27th, 2005 12:31 pm (UTC)
I definately think it would be an interesting insight into writers, yeah. The extras would have to be worthwhile though and not just be stuck in there (as happens on some DVDs) because the producers feel they have to...

Buy maybe things like original story notes, rejected scenes or pre-edited scenes etc might be interesting.
benpeek
Oct. 27th, 2005 01:36 pm (UTC)
yeah, i want the things in there to be important to it. i want the whole thing to have a bit of an artifact feel to it--something that, while small and not overly expensive, is a thing worth owning.

it maybe that i have to go touring independent presses in a bit.
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shawn_scarber
Oct. 27th, 2005 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thumbs up on the extras.
benpeek
Oct. 28th, 2005 12:23 am (UTC)
neat :)
ironed_orchid
Oct. 27th, 2005 06:03 pm (UTC)
Interesting question. I like extras in dvds where peopel talk abotu the film making process, and cinematography and editing and etc. I don't like dvd extras that just tell me the plot again or how cool certain charaters are. also, which deleteld scens, I like an explanation of why the scene was deleted, maybe it worked in itself, but didn't fit into to the overall structure, etc.

My favourite DVDs of extras are The Princess and the Warrior and About Schmidt. Neither detracted from my own understanding of the film (or provided a supplemental understanding of the plot, the correct reading, as it were) but they helped me understand some of the background and technical aspects of producing the film in question.
benpeek
Oct. 28th, 2005 12:25 am (UTC)
cool. thanks for that.
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benpeek
Oct. 28th, 2005 12:25 am (UTC)
cool. thanks :)
ex_benpayne119
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:29 am (UTC)
I'd think "cool" just for the novelty value alone. But yeah, I think if you can rustle up some good stuff, I'm always interested in that sort of thing.

benpeek
Oct. 28th, 2005 08:47 am (UTC)
cool. thanks.
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