Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quotes, Yea or Nay?

While reading a novel the other day, I noticed that each chapter started with a quote. The quotes were either from a poem or something a famous person said that may have been relevant to the chapter or the novel as a whole.

For what it’s worth, I don’t like it, (but who cares what I think, right?). I get it. I’ve seen quotes and songs that seem to speak to the novel I’m working on.

Still, I don’t like it. *folds arms over chest like a stubborn toddler*

It pulls me out of the story. As someone who is naming each chapter in my current novel with a specific title, even that pulls me out of the story somewhat. I’ll take that over the quote, especially if it’s long. I’ve seen some chapters start with a quote that’s a good five lines long. If I’m reading the book, I skip right over this. If I’m listening to the book, it annoys me that I have to sit through this before I can get back into the story. I don’t mind them in the very beginning, and have seen occasions where the quote has fit so well that I’m a little jealous-lol. Not much, though.

So what I want to know is how do you all feel about quotes? Do you use them in your writing? Do you read them at the start of each chapter, or are you like me and breeze right past them?


Cherie Reich said...

I haven't used quotes for a chapter. The only book off-hand I can remember that did that was Talli Roland's THE HATING GAME, and it had a quote about dating or dating statistics, so they were funny and interesting. I do have one novel that's written in parts and each part has a quote that goes with it, but they are quotes I've written to make look like old books from their culture.

I do read them or at least glance over them in the few books I've found them in besides Talli's. So I suppose I don't mind them, or haven't yet.

I do think you have something, though, on the length of them. They should be short, possibly funny or interesting, and necessary to the book.

elfarmy17 said...

Inkheart did it, and I liked it there. I only use quotes at the beginnings of novels, though.

Cynthia Lee said...

I like a quote at the beginning of a novel but I get tired of them if they appear before every chapter.

Putting so many quotes in a book can make it seem a bit pretentious.

Karen Denise said...

Cherie, that does sound funny. The dating stats would probably get me to read them, since I'm in that boat right now-lol.

I like them at the beginnings too, Elfarmy. I've read some really good ones that start out a book, and honestly, I can't say that I will NEVER use a quote in my novel, because I never say never-lol.

Cynthia, I sometimes find the long winded ones pretentious too--glad to know it's not just me--and sometimes the really short ones make me think they are just looking for something, anything that may remotely have something to do with their novel. I guess it's best to find the happy medium.

Kelley said...

I don't care for quotes starting each chapter. I tend to skip them. Some books have included quotes in the text itself as part of the story, and I'm okay with that so long as it's done well.

I, personally, only use one quote at the very beginning of the book.

Karen Denise said...

Hey, Kelley, I've never read a book with quotes as part of the text, unless it was dialogue. I'm not sure if I'd like that or not. But I think I might look for a quote to start my current wip.

tamw said...

I don't mind quotes. While I'm reading I'll skip right over them but, if I REALLY loved the book, when I get done and I'm sad that it's over, I'll go back and read all the quotes and mull over whether they fit or not. lol.

Karen Denise said...

That's a good way to deal with the quotes, Tamw. I might try that in the future!