Introductions Are Stupid
Just a couple of days ago I took one of my earliest published novels over to my neighbor. As we sat on her front porch she opened the book to peruse it, as people usually do. She flipped past the title page and landed on the introduction. Holding the spot with her finger, she looked up at me and asked, “Why do authors write introductions?”
Her tone and facial expression—kind of screwed up with eyebrows half raised—told me that she felt like introductions were the stupidest thing on earth and she’d never deemed to read one in her entire life. And truthfully, I couldn’t say that I disagreed with her disdain. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped over Introductions or “About this Book” explanations in the front of books. Which, if you think about it, is pretty hypocritical of me, considering every single one of my nonfiction books has some sort of explanatory text at the front of it.
But I wasn’t thinking of my own guilt at that moment. Nor was I commiserating with her that an introduction at the beginning of a fiction novel is a little weird and seems pointless. Instead I put on my best ‘because-I-said-so’ mom-voice and told her, “Well, I don’t know why other authors do it, but I wrote that one because I had something I felt the reader should know before reading the book.”
“Okay,” she said, her voice quiet as she gingerly set down the book as if one of us—the book or I—might bite her. But I knew, without a doubt, she’d be reading that damned introduction later. And days later when she was telling me what she thought of the book, my suspicions were confirmed. She had read the introduction, and it had given her information she’d needed to better enjoy the book.
This is my long-winded way of telling you that I know introductions are boring and stupid. I’ve got shit to explain, but because I really want you to read it, I made it Chapter One, instead. Enjoy.