Footnotes vs Endnotes

This choice was a no-brainer. I love footnotes, as anyone knows who read the first material I wrote based on these old letters. They are easy to make in writing programs like WordPerfect or Word, and they help me keep track of what I've learned or still need to research. They help document oddities and facts along the way, or bring enlightening extras to the table. They also inform readers. I'm of the opinion that footnotes are fine. If you don't like them, you can ignore them, as I've done many times while caught up in the flow of other peoples' books. If this book should turn into a historical novel rather than a history, I'm not sure what I'll do about footnotes.

Some writers or publishers are fond of endnotes, and I can't imagine why. While they theoretically serve the same function, they are hard and distracting to use. Usually, they're organized by chapter at the end of the book. This means you have to first figure out which chapter you're on, then find them at the back of the book. You then need to search not just for the number of the note, but for that note within the chapter (which is usually not indicated on every page). What a pain. I suppose that some time in history it was easier for a compositor to put the notes all in one place, and thus not have to adjust the spacing for each page. Nowadays there is software specifically to create them. But let's get real. Computers make the notes for us, and they do it with little work on our part. Here's to the end of endnotes forever. Thank you.

There will be footnotes as I write this book. Probably many.

1 comment:

TheFrogBag said...

I agree! I think footnotes are the way to go. I can only see endnotes being useful when there is a ton of extra information that would use up a page or more by itself. In that case, I say why not go all the way and just put an appendix in?