How Much Is Too Much?

I’m one of those people who loves bonus content.

In movies, I love deleted scenes, director’s cuts, and making-of extras.

In books, I love deleted scenes and world-building content. I love reading author blogs and listening to podcasts where writers talk about their processes; how they created their characters, where they got inspiration for their fictional countries/societies, how they grappled with technology issues, etc.

In Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Series, the author/publisher begins each book with a list of the jewels and a social hierarchy. In Seanan McGuire’s October Daye Series, the author/publisher includes a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the books.

Ever since I was in middle school (and first read the Black Jewels series) I’ve wanted to do something like that for my future books.

So, here’s the thing…

I’m a discovery writer, I write a lot of things that get cut out of the final drafts of my novels.

I’ve got a bunch of world-building artifacts (lists, letters, and video transcripts) that I’d like to share with you, my wonderful perspective readers, but I’m not sure if you’d like it. Rather, I think you’ll like it but I don’t want to bash you over the head with it.

The Slaughter Chronicles are set in modern times, mainly in the United States. So you won’t need a dictionary or dramatis personae. However…

I’ve created a fictional “private security” company that kills people who’ve turned into supernatural monsters. There’s a BIG BOSS that rules over everything, there are department heads, there are support staff. There are annual reviews. There are budget meetings. There are Christmas parties. Company Christmas party short stories are coming.

All of these things, while they have come out of my head and I love them, are not part of the main story arc of the series.

Pulling Teeth and Other Stories of the Slaughter Chronicles is a collection of adventures and mishaps that my protagonist, Regina Slaughter, finds herself in before the events of Havoc’s Moon (book one). In this collection you get a glimpse of Regina’s life between ages 9 and 13. In Havoc’s Moon we jump to a more adult version of Regina. She has never been to one of these company Christmas parties and she probably never will (since she’s, you know, a werewolf).

Right now, I’m toying with 3 options:

1: Put everything in the books and hope for the best.

With this option you get all the content in one tidy package but I run the risk of presenting you with stuff that will bog you down and make you not want to read my book or give you stuff you will skip over. I do not want to do either of those things.

2: Put all my extras here on my website in a special section devoted to The Slaughter Chronicles.

This way you can use my website as a reference when you need to and you can get on with your reading in peace.

3: Ration it out and put one or two pieces of bonus content relevant to that particular part of the story at the beginning of each book.

Right now, at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, as I write this, I’m leaning toward a combination of 2 and 3. I want to have a place where everything is collected and neatly organized in one place but I also want to have fun little artifacts in my books.

Do you like extra, bonus content? Do you care about world-building? Let me know in the comments.