Author Lindy Moone, hereafter known as Roadkill, is still being interviewed for your local radio book spot. (Part one is here. Part two is here. If you’re interested.) Roadkill, glued to her stool, thinks this Interview from Hell will never end. She looks at the clock. It’s been three minutes. Time doesn’t fly when you’re not having fun.
The interview continues:
DJ: “Hyperlink from Hell has an unusual format; how did you come up with that — and why?”
ROADKILL: thinks, Well, the book-within-a-book format isn’t unusual, so I’ll assume you mean the use of links/slash/footnotes, but says, “Footnotes?”
Goes on to think, Even footnotes aren’t that uncommon in fiction, these days, but they aren’t always justified. Footnotes should be an integral part of the narrative to justify their existence – and the format must be more than a gimmick, or readers are going to think it’s a maddening distraction. And footnotes are always a distraction, so there needs to be a significant payoff for readers being constantly reminded that they’re reading a book.
Footnotes usually shouldn’t be used in fiction, not if they’re just a way to squeeze in exposition or little nuggets of worldbuilding without slowing the pace — because they DO slow the pace for anyone who chooses to read them. And they’re the epitome of “author intrusion.” In Hyperlink, the footnotes are only used in Jimmie’s part (the book-within-the-book), and they’re from his point of view. Readers are experiencing Hyperlink along with the Director, anyway, so they’re already keenly aware that they’re reading – and they’re supposed to be. If they have that feeling when they’re reading the Director’s narrative, though… that’s bad.
But says, “My bad.”
DJ: “Since you’ve mentioned footnotes… Do Jimmie’s footnotes represent anything, besides the obvious humor they provide?”
ROADKILL: “They could represent Jimmie’s awareness of his ADHD — that he realizes how exasperating it must be for his readers to suffer through all those tangents, and he’s trying to provide relief. There’s plenty of those tangents in the body of the text, anyway – but the footnotes give readers an even bigger dose of his disjointed thinking process. Jimmie can’t turn that process off, but he can try to compartmentalize it. For my own “authorly” purposes, the footnotes ARE a maddening distraction, and they’re meant to be. I want the reader to feel manipulated by Jimmie. I want to reinforce the idea that he may be mad… but he might just be yanking readers’ chains, instead.”
DJ: caught off guard by Roadkill actually answering — and so long-windedly — says, “Huh?”
ROADKILL: thinks, I’m on a roll, now. Really enjoying this. Don’t even have to pee anymore. I could do this all day!
DJ: “That’s all we have time for, today. Many thanks to author Lindy Moone!”