Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Novels/ArticleTemplate

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Documentation[edit]

This is a WikiProject article pattern belonging to Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels. It is to be used as a starting block for new novel articles and as aid to restyle existing articles.

Discussion of the article pattern template[edit]

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations[edit]

Someone is suggesting that in the interests of standardization, the WHOLE section heading above must be used in the article about Scott Turow's novel Presumed Innocent, even though the information that follows it is only about a film adaptation, with no mention of TV or stage drama. This template should be USEFUL; it should not be a straightjacket or a Prucrustean bed or a totalitarian dictator, that supercedes the user's intelligence. Michael Hardy 22:57, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Now, now, please be kind. It is just that the intention of a common heading is different that you are expecting. Please notice the small word "or" in the heading. In other words it does not mean that "all" have to be present for the heading to be appropriate. It is a home in the the article for any such adaptation that exists (or even will exist). I do agree it shouldn't be a straightjacket, and I personally am leaving the particular article quoted alone. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:57, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
This should definitely be "Adaptions into other media" or some such... not only due to the issue set out above, but also because many books have been adapted outside the rather limited scope that the header gives; Novels have served as the basis for comic books, concept albums, video games, radio dramas, and so on. If no one objects, I will change the header.--SB | T 08:36, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Leave as is with the dramatic basis. What you are suggesting refers to all manner of adaptations and associations, which can be included in the "==Allusions/references from other works==2 section. Their is perhaps room for improvement in the naming of these sections, or even addition sections to fill in gaps, but please let is consider this carefully. I'm not against change, but let it be carefully thought out. Thanks. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:45, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, the problem with that is that adaptations are not allusions. Also, it would seem to be best to err on the side of inclusivity for a standard across all articles. I don't think anyone is assuming that all novels will have film, TV, and theatrical adaptations. "Adaptations" is fairly clear, and the section can go on to explain which media it's been adapted into. --Keitei (talk) 06:01, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Would it be catered for by either sticking with the existing heading

  ==Film, TV or theatrical adaptations==  or
  ==Dramatic adaptations==

and then a new heading with something like

  ==Other literature adaptations== or
  ==Other media adapatations==

This has the advantage of distinguishing the normal type of adaptation (ie. the dramatic or theatrical) and any other (which is a lot rarer). The problem I see across most novel articles that take the general "Adaptation" route is almost complete lack of consistency, it would be good to get a general scheme that works for all novels and everyone is comfortable working with. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:54, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

But why do we have to make the distinction at all? Adaptions are adaptions; I see no practical purpose in distinguishing between "normal" adaptions and the less common ones. Having said that, there are certain works which have been adapted so many times, and into so many different media (eg Hamlet, Journey to the West) that subsections of an "adaptions" section would work well.--SB | T 23:43, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

I am still convinced of the difference of the dramatic adaptation. This is what is normally thought of when writing an "Adaptation" section anyway. The other types mentioned "comic books", "concept albums" or "video games" are often written up as "pop-culture media" or some such; which is slightly too dismissive in my view!
As an alternative can we adjust the existing to: (to include the "Radio drama" point)

  ==Film, TV or other dramatic adaptations==  or

and then a new heading with something like

  ==Non dramatic adaptations== 

These could then be used in tandem, or seperately with no lose of meaning. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 14:19, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Video games, comic books, and concept albums are (usually, and certainly when being an adaption of a novel) dramatic mediums. There's absolutely no reason to seperate them.--SB | T 03:18, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
That is an extraordinarily broad definition of "drama". The usual form is for anything with actor's on a stage (or modern version). There is a reason to seperate them - it's is just a view on it's importance. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:19, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Category:~year~ book vs. ~year~ novel[edit]

I saw discussion about changing category:~year~ books to category:~year~ novel. Can the template be updated to reflect this? PeregrineV 16:45, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes - Do it - oversight on our part. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 16:48, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Allusions/references[edit]

The use of a slash in "allusions/references" in several of the headings is unattractive. Why not use words instead of punctuation to convey the point: "allusions and references", or just one or the other where appropriate? Michael Z. 2006-10-03 18:45 Z

This is an appalling section. It leads to trivia-like lists. I would suggest its removal from the template. Awadewit 21:32, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
I strongly agree, and have just removed it. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 21:08, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I disagree with this removal. If this section is correctly used (and as editors we can all ensure that it is) then meaningful and important allusions can be created which explain obscure references in novels. The removal of this section is, in my view, just going to encourage trivia sections.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 18:50, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I also disagree with the removal of this section. The allusions section can be very informative and provide very useful information. How about we add a line in that section of the template saying something like "This section should not be used to list items of trivia." I also think that in the spirit of consensus that this section should not have been removed without a full discussion on this talk page, it should probably be reverted until a consensus is reached. --Captain-tucker (talk) 01:14, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
For such a long standing part of the template such a removal "before substantive debate" is not really appropriate. I have replaced it with a slightly greater emphasis on formal "references" and a note to avoid the trivial. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:10, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Kevin, thanks for your input, especially as I know that you're not contributing much at present. I think your change is a useful compromise. For now, at least, I'm happy with it. --08:30, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Lead length[edit]

An argument has been made in Talk:To_Kill_a_Mockingbird#Cleaning up the article that this template's single-sentence lede is too short and should include the content the template currently partitions into the plot introduction section. --Meyer 07:56, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I have augmented the Lead Paragraph you mention above, but also please bear in mind that the example "start" in this "template" was never meant to be to only thing to include in the "Lead". It is only meant the be a default "Start" and the idea would be to develope the content of the Lead in parallel with the article whole in order for it to be considered to be a suitable summary of that whole. Trust that helps. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:05, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
It helps me, at least. I appreciate how you fleshed-out the lead of To Kill a Mockingbird without duplicating the plot introduction section, which section I think is useful to keep as a separate entity. However, I am curious why you thought the director and writer of the film should be mentioned here and not the star, Gregory Peck, who won an Oscar for the role (personally, I'd tend to save all the film details for the film page). In view of how well-commented the rest of the template is, I think it would be good to add a comment on the intent for the lead you mention above. --Meyer 09:22, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for adding the extra documentation for the "Lead" paragraphy, you were quite right it was needed. On the Mockingbird lead, Please feel free to fine tune the content I just wanted to get something going in the right direction and to set a course that others could work with. By all means change it. Thanks. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk)

New template[edit]

I would like to propose a new template. There are several significant flaws with this one.

  • It is repetitive to have a "Plot introduction" and a "Plot summary." I suggest that we remove the "Plot introduction."
I don't believe so - for the fully article it should be possible to inlude a "taster" of the plot without fear of reading a "spoiler" element - that is the purpose of the "introduction". :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
The page is not supposed to be a dust jacket. I strongly urge that we reconsider having repetitive information on the page. Users will stop reading. Awadewit 16:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be repetitive, but I can see the risk. Many will stop reading as soon as plot overview or introduction become more full and spoiler inclusive. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that it should be removed. A "plot introduction" can be (and should be, imo) smoothly incorporated into the opening paragraph in a few short phrases as a teaser both for the more detailed plot summary and for the article as a whole. The separate section interrupts the logical flow of the article. There is no way to escape the repetitive element of the current structure. baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
  • There should not be a whole section dedicated to an "explanation of the novel's title." If the title is significant, the editors can decide that for themselves and add an appropriate subsection. It is not appropriate for a template that is trying to describe what is necessary for every novel.
It isn't it is trying to describe a template for the fuller article that can be paired down for the more simple brief article. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
But there are so few instances in which the title would deserve its own entire subsection that I think this category should be removed from the template. It encourages editors to create a subsection where one is unnecessary. Awadewit 16:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
But when it does then it should have a "standard" location in the article. We can enhance the documentation of the template to encourage the "proper" use of sections and discourage unnecessary. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't any explanation of the novel's title, if needed, rightly belong in the thematic analysis, the allusions to other works, or the historical allusions sections, depending on the specific meaning of the title? Again, I think this separation interrupts flow and overlaps other sections. It also encourages editors trying to follow the structure to add trivial elements as it is not necessary for most novels. This could be alleviated somewhat, however, by leaving it as it is but including an instruction to delete the section unless the info is critical. baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree. Editors should be encouraged to extensively develop "Theme" and "Style" sections rather than factoid-based sections. This is not what I have seen so far, unfortunately. Weaving together a mention of the novel's title and its meaning with a larger discussion of a theme is far more effective than just baldly stating it. Readers are also far more likely to remember it. Awadewit 10:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I would also suggest removing the "Characters" section. This template looks too much like sparknotes or cliffnotes rather than like an encyclopedia entry and one aspect of that is the large plot summaries I have seen on numerous novel pages and the long, detailed lists of characters.
Neither need be long, the Character list does need to be anotated though to give some idea of the persons nature, character, role (not just name) :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Again, I see no need for this. A well-done plot summary will introduce the reader to the characters. I cannot emphasize how much such lists make wikipedia look like sparknotes and thus unencyclopedic. Also, what sources are you going to use for this? Just the text? That begins to look like original research. Awadewit 16:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
What is it with the abhorance of lists. Too much prose on a computer screen it the best put off to the vasy majority of reader. This is not paper and should not use "all" the same rules. A List format for some aspects of information is fine. What I would strongly agree with is that a "pure" list should be discourages and there shoudl be more to each character sketch by way of introduction to major character and discussion of their significance. Again ideally from referable sources. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Can we rename it "Major Characters"? (And remove the "in ~Name of Novel~" too: it's not needed)User:Baby ifritah (previously unsigned)
Well, you are not going to find any fabulous sources for a character list or for a basic description of a character because all of the well-respected scholars skip right over that since there is no need for it (they often summarize plot, but they never have character lists). I just want to remove repetition from the page. Awadewit 10:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
  • It should be made clear that the material in the "Major themes" section should be drawn from scholarly sources. One or two editors' interpretation of a novel's themes is not WP:NPOV.
Quite agree with this one, needs more of us to keep encouraging this aspect. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
  • "Allusions and references to other works" - There is no reason to have an entire section on this topic. Such references should only be mentioned in passing when necessary. This section leads to trivia-like lists.
Only when not supported as in the themes comment above. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Again, suggesting categories such as these encourages editors to design poor pages with superfluous information. Awadewit 16:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Don't agree but we should be making clearer that such sections appropriate "only" when significant information is relevant and again ideally sourcable. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. An encouragement to delete the section unless important in the template notes should fix this problem. However, any literary allusions of real significance would probably come up in the thematic analysis or literary criticism. This could also fall prey to the "original research" problem. (And now I'm just imagining someone working their way through Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and writing a section longer than the book itself. lol.) baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree. See The Picture of Dorian Gray - the Faust section should have been discussed in the "Themes" section. Awadewit 10:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The "Literary significant and criticism" section might better be combined with the "Themes" section, at least the part that is based on the work of literary critics. The part that is reception history would better be categorized under something like "Reception and legacy."
Not quite sure I understand why the realigning here, seems more a personal preferance for subject treatments. Not against but would like a fully rationale or explaination. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
There is a bit of a conflation here. Literary critics are the experts in this field - it is their work to which we should be turning to outline the themes and style of the works; literary criticism is a rather modern discipline and we should be relying on the best scholarship used in the academy today. The "literary significance" of a work is its "Reception history" at the time it was published and later, be that in the sixteenth century or whenever. How did critics at the time respond to it? To what extent was it a popular work, etc.? That is separate from literary criticism for the purposes of wikipedia unless you also want to have a subsection on "academic reception," but that seems silly since the editors would be using that very work to write the page. Awadewit 16:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Certainly we could go with some of this thinking. We would ideally need to provide some documentation to support these new headings. I certainly see where you are heading now. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I think we should put the literary criticism in the "themes" section, and retitle this section as "Literary and Historical Significance" (or "Literary and Historical Context", maybe, for more recent works). Textual analysis and context/reception are two very different things. baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I quite follow you. Are you saying that we should put a little history of what literary critics have said about a novel in the themes section? That is precisely what I was saying we should not do. I would argue that such a history belongs in the "Reception" section, if one tells it at all. Most editors are unprepared to write it. The first focus should be on getting editors to use the works of literary critics when writing the "Themes" section since that is literary analysis. Literary critics also study "reception," though, so they often have something to say on that front as well. A small history of an author's reception in the academy can be useful but is usually not that important, in my opinion. The most important of literary criticism here is using it as a source for the page. Awadewit 10:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
sorry - just reading that again, it's a mess. i lost an antecedent somewhere.  :) I think there should be a "themes" section containing the "internal" literary criticism (ie; the textual analysis), and i think that the "Literary significance & criticism" should be renamed "Literary and Historical Significance/Context" and contain the reception info, the historical info and the "external" literary criticism (analysis of the novel's significance in terms of broader literary traditions). there will still be some conflation as literary style is often the tool the theme depends upon so belongs there, but this distinction is very important when you want to examine how that style had an impact on other writers, or the literary movement the novel is a part of, which is inextricably linked to social/historical context. baby_ifritah 17:09, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
  • "Allusions/references from other works" - This category also leads to trivia-like lists. Any such information should only be included where relevant when actually discussing the real content of the novel.
See "allusions" comments above :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
What do you want the page to be about? To me, it should be about interpretations of the novel. It should not be dominated by plot summaries, lists of characters and lists of random references. I did a brief survey of some of the canonical novels of the nineteenth century and many of them look like this. There is very little on the pages regarding theme and style, the essence of a piece of literature. Awadewit 16:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
The nature of the article content is more a factor of type of editor we have working on them. The content should be improved from literary sources as you are clearly suggesting. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
This problem seems to be an issue for the template overall, rather than section specific. Solution: more detailed guidelines for sections and perhaps an opening guideline as to a novel article's main aims in terms of the information it provides, so that editors can "weight" the article appropriately. baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I think Baby ifritah's idea is an excellent one; we should have a little paragraph outlining the main goals of a novel page at the top of the new style guidelines. Awadewit 10:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)


  • "Allusions/references to actual history..." - This category also leads to lists. A better idea is to preface a discussion of the novel with a discussion of the author's and the work's "Historical context." It is not a good idea to simply detail, "This really did happen, this did not."
I disagree, I think this is quite a useful section and can generate more interest in the work for many readers, as well as being quite grounding for people whose thought processes find literary analysis somewhat abstract. The "historical context" area is, imo, a broader analysis, and one not limited to the time in which the novel is set. To me, this is the place for some "facts" (and wikilinks!) which many readers would find interesting. baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Here's the thing, though. However interesting it might be, this kind of scholarship is often touted as the worst kind of scholarship in literary studies. To privilege it on wikipedia would not be a good idea if we are aiming for respectability. Awadewit 10:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
hmm. this is true. in the "literary" novels it does kind of beg for information without substance, and in pop fiction it just devolves into fetish. i now concur with you. if can't be worked in to the other sections, it can't be important enough to include. baby_ifritah 17:09, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
  • There should never be a "Trivia" section in a wikipedia article (WP:TRIV). Articles cannot become FAs if they have trivia sections, therefore the template is handicapping its articles.
Open to conceed this one, however on occasion things some think of as trivia should appear elsewhere, often nowhere. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
If one cannot fit the factoid into a genuine category, it doesn't belong on the page. Awadewit 16:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Delete delete delete. baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
  • There should not be a "Release details" section unless it is copied directly from a scholarly source; therefore, again I would suggest that this section be removed from the template. This kind of work, called bibliographic scholarship, is actually quite difficult. The lists compiled by wikipedia editors are actually original research, which is not allowed (WP:OR), and will lack the specificity and care of that done by scholars.

Where schorlarly source don't exist this leaves most popular culture out to dry. This is an issue for the wider wikipedia cummunity to determine is this "PC" material can be included. As long as the references can be verifiable then the "Release details" could stand. I would entirely agree if you were saying that the editions should major on the "first, earliest and major" to avoid the advert based references. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, when there are no sources, one is stuck, but that is true of any wikipedia page. The point is that assembling the list is original research. There is no way around it - it is a distinct field of scholarly research. If that research hasn't been done yet, that is too bad, but pretending that the list isn't original research simply because no one has assembled it yet and wikipedia wants to include a list is unethical. You seem to be missing the point about the references. Even if all of the editions on the list were "verifiable," the list purports to be a complete and comprehensive list. Untrained wikipedia editors are likely to miss some releases and an unannotated list is not of much help to anyone. Awadewit 16:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Ok, some level of agreement here, but I do still think the section can stay. It should perhaps be renamed to indicate possible incompleteness or text be annotated to make that clear. Also reference sourcing should be encouraged. What I do think should be avoided the typical ISBN, amazon & barnes books referencing that just acts like adverts. This should always be discouraged. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I think it should stay but have 1st editions (hb & pb) and "critical" or "scholarly" editions prioritised in the guidelines, with annotations strongly encouraged, and deletion of section encouraged if it is a recent work with no textual changes between editions/publishers. baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I'll just keep repeating myself. It is original research and wikipedia prohibits original research. As much as we might want to have such a list (and I can sympathize with that), we can only have it if others have done the work. Might I ask why the resistance to following wikipedia's policy on this? Awadewit 10:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
i don't think that is always the case though. for example, in Robbery Under Arms, I listed the first edition and a critical edition which adds back in the 29,000 words from the work's original serialised form. that's not "own work". as this is significant however, it could have been worked in to the article without a section. it is also worth noting that this start-article falls prey to everything we have been discussing because i filled out the bones of the template and have yet to add the scholarly stuff which is the most important. but the stub was up and i wanted the format there for other editors to work around. baby_ifritah 17:09, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Thus, my new template would look something like this (slightly altered now):
  • Infobox
  • Lead
  • Plot summary
  • Historical context (optional)
  • Literary analysis (subsection: Themes; subsection: Style)
  • Reception and legacy
  • Awards (if any)
  • Adaptations (if any)
  • Sources, etc. Awadewit 21:53, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Having said all that I have I am not trying to be obstructive and I do think this debate is important enough to alert more peoples attention to it. Thank you for raising these issues and I believe we should let this debate run for quite some time so we can get a number of responses and get the best possible result. Which I'm sure is the main aim here. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I wasn't sure who to alert - perhaps you know. I am more than willing to let it run and pipe up every once in a while. I feel that it is a very important debate. I just looked at each of the Jane Austen novel pages and they really suffer from what I shall now label the "sparknotes syndrome" that seems to infect many of the novel pages here. Awadewit 16:01, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I have added the debate to our project announcements template, and will include it in our monthly newsletter - due out in just over a week. There may be other opportunities though. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:22, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I support Awadewit's revised template. The idea that every novel should have all the current template's sections (such as "Explanation of the novel's title," "Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science," or "Release details") is irritating. If an editor decides that an article should have these sections, fine. But the template should be a bare-bones road map to making a very good novel article. If a novel warrants having more sections, then so be it. But don't leave editors with the impression that every novel article must have a "Release details" or an "Explanation of the novel's title." Best, --Alabamaboy 01:21, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Apart from the first sentence here I couldn't agree more. There is no need to include sections that are not needed. If there is anywhere where we are saying that it needs rewording - documenting better. Please point it out to us. This template is a guide to a fuller article, which can be "heavily" trimed to suit circumstances. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 07:46, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Just a couple of quick impressions of the revised template above... I don't like the title "Literary Analysis". This is a general encyclopaedia and the term is a bit too academic for my liking. Section titles shouldn't require a wikilink (imo). Also, "Reception and Legacy" is offputting. Legacy seems to be a very static term implying some kind of absolute, linear, hierarchical canon which doesn't relate well to much of the "popular" fiction, and reception is also a bit highbrow and academic. "Significance" is far more appropriate, inclusive, and accessible. baby_ifritah 09:15, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Although this is a general encyclopedia, I'm not sure that we want to jettison all of the terms of the discipline. The science pages don't do that, for example. I don't find "Literary analysis" difficult to understand, for example, and one of the things we want to do is educate. That said, we could eliminate it and simply stick with "Themes" and "Style" as sections. The only problem I see with this is that "Literary analysis" suggests a wider array of subsections than we may want to list as possibilities. Also, "Significance" would have to be expanded a bit; "Significance" to what? It's interesting that you associate legacy with a canon because all of the "Legacy" sections I've written explain why a particular author or book did not make it into the canon, so I'm not sure that it has to have that connotation (see Mary Wollstonecraft, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Sarah Trimmer, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman for examples). Also, I like using "Reception" since it is a word employed in the discipline and is easy to grasp. Awadewit 10:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
i have no problem with reception really. i don't think "theme" and "style" should be divided at all because style, as i see it, is either related to the text, or related to the novel's context. i think my ideal revised template would go as follows:
  • infobox
  • lead (a real one, not just "this is a novel by...")
  • plot summary
  • literary analysis
  • context and significance (historical and literary, if any. includes "reception")
  • awards
  • adaptations
  • sources etc..
you'll notice that i've placed the history stuff later. i really think that as the article is about the novel, the flow should be text→subtext→context. baby_ifritah 17:09, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I would divorce the "Historical context" from the book's actual "Reception" or "Significance" and place it earlier simply because it helps the reader place the book in some sort of historical timeline. See Some Thoughts Concerning Education and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman for examples. These are not novels, but the same principle applies. Otherwise, I like it. Awadewit Talk 00:59, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with the above template changes.I disagree with making the novel template leaner. I would much rather have the template "guide" me with a ton of subsections, which I, as the editor at that time, can include or omit. I also prefer the plain English version of the current template, as perhaps some novels may not have had a "literary analysis" done on them, or may not have a “historical context”. “Reception & legacy” would be included under “literary significance”.

I can understand the desire to make the novel articles more scholarly, but I don’t see it as feasible. Wikipedia is not a scholarly work, it’s a reference source, with millions(?) of individual contributors, and all it entails. I’d much rather leave the professional dissection of novels to the professionals. As a part-time contributor, a fully fleshed template full of helpful hints works much better for me. PeregrineV 21:13, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

A "fully fleshed" template may sound like a good idea, but the problem with it is a) who's going to develop it?; b) no matter how complete the template is, it leaves things out and worse, forces you to put things in categories where they don't belong. Also, as a scholar I rely on Wikipedia's novel articles more than the general public, I would be willing to wager. I used the Uncle Tom's Cabin article to help me study for my comprehensive exams. Because of the importance of the novel articles to me, I am particularly interested in developing a new template. And as an editor of novel articles, it has become abundantly clear that the novel template as it currently stands is oriented toward the following things: allusiveness of a literary work, plot, and character. If you look at other encyclopedias for the types of things they include/exclude, plot and character drop away, as does allusiveness. The types of things that encyclopedias are good at recording and elaborating on are: historical context of the work and author; popular and scholarly criticism and reception; and stylistics/thematics. I think we need to have a debate on a new template, and I think the ones proposed above are a good starting place. Victorianist 00:05, 12 November 2007 (UTC)


Spoilers[edit]

I've redone Kusma's edit which has the effect of removing bad advice on spoilers. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and this means amongst other things that important plot elements may have to be dealt with in the lead. For instance the lead of an article about Brave New World should probably mention the Savage's failure to integrate with the culture of his mother, and his eventual suicide. It most definitely is not in order to recommend that spoilers should be confined to as single section marked with a warning tag. --Tony Sidaway 14:07, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

This also seems to reflect at least one consensus that has become clear on Wikipedia:Spoiler. Most people seem to agree that concerns over revealing 'spoilers' should not influence an article's overall structure. Those interested in discussing the topic (who don't somehow know already) should head to Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Policies/Wikipedia:Spoiler warning. --Aquillion 14:34, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Bear in mind that this is not a "Plot summary" it is a "plot introduction" it's specific purpose to to have a "spoiler free" intro to the plot for those wanting to see what a novel is roughly about. With no guidance like this then "spoilers" will creep in anyway. Also don't assume the results of a dabate before it is in and unless this becomes a major plank of Wikipedia I can't see agreement meaning a great deal in the longer term. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 14:47, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Trivia sections[edit]

This template seems to be encouraging the creation of trivia sections, listing them as a key part of a novel-article's structure. Do we want that? I thought we were trying to phase them out by incorporating relevant information into the rest of the article and eliminating the rest. --Aquillion 14:36, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

At least if a trivia section exists it can be micro managed - rather than constantly scaning the whole article considering if the "trivia" is too trivial ! :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 14:41, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Avoid trivia sections in articles is a relevant guideline. I have removed the section. Kusma (talk) 14:44, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Substability[edit]

Has this been fixed up so someone can start a new page by just substing the template into their new article page? Would suggest that be an option for all project templates, and the usage can be gotten out of the way following the WP:DPP guideline. Noincludes don't come along on subst operations, so should be fairly simple. The current pre block goes to the /doc page, etcetera. If that's not clear, get a hold of me! // FrankB 17:07, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Someone has attempted something along these lines at Template:Skeleton novel. however that was a while ago and there is room for a different approach and work here. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:16, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Quotations[edit]

I think we have to seriously think about the "Sources, references, external links, quotations" section as quotations seem awfully close to Trivia. Quotations don't seem necessary. I think if an article will include quotations, it should include them as part of a discussion about the novel: for instance, a scholar's take on a particular quotation, or a quotation that seems to tell us something about the novel. See the quotation I included from the opening chapter of Slaughterhouse-Five in a recent edit. It seems clear that the quotation is serving a larger point in the article. Unless someone can justify the quotations section, I think it should be deleted. Victorianist 00:10, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

create clean infobox template[edit]

Can we get a blank infobox template on the page, so we can cut and paste without having to erase every line of instruction? (Like the Template:Infobox_Writer page has.) What's the best way to do it -- post it inside NoWiki markers? Aristophanes68 (talk) 18:07, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I tend to agree. I never use this template as a copy/paste job, in large part because of the annoyance of having to clear out the instructions. Maybe a blank template for experienced editors? -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 00:02, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

link to source text?[edit]

Hi I'm just passing thru, but it seems to me that the template ought to inlcude links to source text, where they exist? eg. the project gutenberg (or other) etext? (and, while I'm at it, i'll put a pitch in for links to the free/public domain librivox audio recordings too, but i'll recuse myself from that question, as i am a volunteer there). Mackinaw (talk) 00:13, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Characters list[edit]

For some categories of novel, notably genre mysteries, a character list can be highly appropriate and should precede the plot summary. It was fairly common for genre mysteries published in the 1930s and 1940s to include a character list before the beginning of the narrative.

In many other mysteries, an early passage in the narrative is little more than a catalog of characters, so that the reader has a list of suspects and witnesses in hand.

Putting this list in an explicit section section may offend some purists, but it offends me to interrupt narrative text for what is de facto a bulleted list, and which is far easier to compose as such than as narrative text. --Rich Rostrom (Talk) 21:00, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Position of stub tag[edit]

I notice that "~Stub notice, if necessary~" appears before the categories. Stub tags should go after categories, so that the stub categories are listed last - see Wikipedia:Stub#How_to_mark_an_article_as_a_stub. PamD (talk) 16:17, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Well spotted - I have thought this stipulation a little picky though as categories "always" appear at the end of the article by WikiMedia design. Anyway changed! :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 16:54, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. The idea is that the stub categories are listed after the other categories - sorry I didn't make that clear! PamD (talk) 17:25, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Boldly Redone[edit]

I've boldly rearranged this template to more closely match what is actually being seen in novel FAs and GAs over the last year or so, removing a lot of excessive sections, the double plot section, and rearranging others. If you disagree, let's discuss. I also cleaned up the instructions some. One thing I did not address was the need for alt text in the infobox, which should be handled by the infobox. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 00:01, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

The double plot section was specifically to avoid the spoiler element of "full summaries". Enabling a "teaser type" plot introduction to be added in circumstances where a fuller summary would actually give away too much. The introduction gave a home for a distributive which gave the colour and flavour of the narrative without ruining the book for those who wished to read it. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 16:21, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
That goes directly against WP:SPOILER and what is done with all other media works. In GA and FA reviews, its also one of the first things stated as needing removed. The "teaser" type summary belongs in the lead, rather than a stand alone section. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:43, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I disagree - that related to specific spoiler warnings which are not used now. It is a response to the lack of such a warning and allows a brief plot taster that means that readers can review a book's character without reading a full summary. Other wise "any" plot information would have to be avoided. But that reduces the value when reading wikipedia. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 11:19, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Consensus has shown otherwise, and again no other media articles use this type of split plot and it has been rejected in peer reviews, FAs, and GAs. If people do not want to be spoiled, they should not read Wikipedia. Spoiler also relates to trying to hide or avoid spoilers in a manner such as this, which is just not appropriate and only bloats the article with excessive sections. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 12:48, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Character List[edit]

I've noticed that since this page has been redone, the 'Character List' section was removed. As I remember it, it was considered optional, as long as it was well written. I never really was a fan of character lists, but I would like some clarification as to whether a character list is now discouraged from being in an article, whether it is up to the editor, or what. 74.95.169.158 (talk) 17:32, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

They are generally discouraged unless they are sourced to reliable, third-party sources and that focus on discussing character motivations, personalities, etc. Just a list of characters and a summary of their role in the story from the work itself is unnecessary. As most fall in this realm, the section was removed. Adding an optional characters section (rather than character list) that meets the sourcing/focus guidelines, can still be done at editor discretion. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 17:40, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Novella Infobox Needed[edit]

I am finding difficulty putting The Shobies' Story , a novella, into either the Novel Infobox because it is not an independent book, or the Short Story Infobox template because that infobox is precoded to put double quotes around the name. Can someone create a novella infobox to use, or perhaps enlighten me if novellas or novelettes should go in double quotes? I would just classify it as a short story since the dividing line between a short story and a novella is probably subject to debate, but this work has won awards specifically for the novella. Cheers --Npd2983 (talk) 22:26, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Template nominated for deletion[edit]

Please see Wikipedia:Templates_for_discussion/Log/2013_December_14#December_14 that I nominated Template:Skeleton novel fro deletion. Debresser (talk) 19:40, 14 December 2013 (UTC)