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I'm writing a long non-fiction text that describes a fictional setting.

I came up with a fiction piece for that setting, to include as further illustration.

I decided it would work best if I split it up in three ways.

One part to go in the beginning (as a prologue); One part to go in the middle; And one part to go in the end (as an epilogue.)

But, what should I call the part that goes in the middle?

I'm writing it all in Spanish (my native language), but so far I've been unable to find a proper or even vaguely accurate term, regardless of language.

Any help in either English or Spanish would be appreciated.

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    Maybe a, uh, book? – CHEESE Mar 29 '16 at 17:37
  • I was looking for actually helpful answers, not sarcasm. It also seems you didn't read the entire explanation. Laziness is not a virtue, just so you know. – Randall Stevens Mar 31 '16 at 11:56
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    @RandallStevens I fail to see how the right answer for this is not a book. What makes your "middle part" different? – Nai45 Jan 20 at 0:35
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The part of a book that comes between the prologue and the epilogue is normally called "the story"!

Ok, I take it you mean you have some explanatory material that you want to put in the middle, that is not part of the story itself?

Perhaps "interlude" is what you are looking for.

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    More sarcasm, but followed by an actually helpful reply! So thanks :) It's the other way around. Most of the text is "out of character" descriptions of the fictional setting, and the "prologue/interlude/epilogue" thing is setting-based fiction. But you got the idea, and your suggestion sounds good! "Interlude" seems to be the right term. I'll keep looking, but I might stick with that. Thanks again! – Randall Stevens Mar 31 '16 at 11:59
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The short answer is: use 'epilogue' (var. 'epigraph') regardless of where you place something that is not quite part of the text of the body of the work. It's an 'off-label' use, but then if one is a writer they have license to do just that - especially where no other good devices or terms are provided. Language is inherently flexible in that respect and for good reason.

The longer answer: It happens that "official definitions" of terms often conflict with the actual utility of a word or the lack of substitutes for an 'off-label' application. Professional writers run into this problem all the time and generally ignore the constraints some think are written in stone and not to be violated. But we do it with reason and careful consideration. Bottom line, coinage of usage as well as coinage of terms is an oft used tool on any writer's workbench.

'prologue' (var 'prologomena/-on') unfortunately has been saddled with other formula that require it be some kind of "introductory descriptive" text related to the remainder of a work and, therefore be put at the beginning of a work. The Greek root, 'pro-'/ 'before', supports this constraint.

In the case of the term 'epilogue', the constraint that holds it is only appropriate to use at the end of a work defeats one of its more valuable applications as a general 'meta-textual' indicator that might appear anywhere in a text - something that is merely aside, above or near to the main text of a work, but not quite within it. 'metalogue' might be a good substitute coinage, but it has other uses that are not relevant. 'paralogue' might be another good coinage, but I find it a bit awkward as well. My solution is to simply call these little above-the-text asides (which are mainly used at the beginning of a chapter or section within a work) 'epilogues' as well. The Greek roots of the word ('epi' + 'logos') would support this usage, 'epi-' simply meaning something not within a text, but close to or near to it; 'logos' simply meaning 'saying' or 'thought'.

an example: I have a long work with the following structures:

  • A title page
  • a number of prefacing pages (index, forward, cast of characters, etc.)
  • a one page prologue that contains some descriptive and mood setting material and is a proper part of the body of the work.
  • after that follows a page with a brief epilogue, absolutely vital to the work, but not quite a part of it either.
  • several other epilogues appear throughout the work (generally, but not always, at the beginning of a new chapter).
  • at the end of the work there is also a final chapter that is titled "Epilogue - Auld Lang Syne".

All of which works for me and, more importantly, works for the work itself. Keep in mind as a writer, reality is what you say it is, not what "They" say it must be.

[ps - those who provide sarcasm or 'uhm-duhs' for responses to a question are generally little more than ego-wavers who have nothing to say, but say it anyway. Pay them no mind.]

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I believe you mean an "interlude". It's a piece of writing that comes after the prologue, before the epilogue, but not necessarily part of the story. Interludes can be excerpts of another character, or other things. I read a book where they used interludes to describe what a different character was doing at the same time the story was taking place, so I think an interlude would work for you.

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http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2009/09/parts-of-a-book/

I'm not familiar with this page, but it seems accurate from what I remember of my technical studies in that regard. You've got frontmatter, main body, and backmatter. Prologue is frontmatter, epilogue is part of the main body, as are all the other chapters of your story.

  • As far as I understand it, OP isn't writing a story; he's interleaving multi-part fiction into a non-fiction work. He's got one chapter that's DIFFERENT, fiction rather than nonfiction, and he's looking for a term for that. IMHO this doesn't answer the question. – Standback Mar 29 '16 at 9:44
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    Perhaps not. I think the problem may even be that he's not using Prologue and Epilogue appropriately. They are not so simple as "the first part" and "the last part," they have specific roles and are often misused. If there is not a "main body" to the work, then they have no place, because they are not the main work in and of themselves. "Interlude", as suggested by another user, would be appropriate within a main body of work, though, in which case a designated Prologue and Epilogue are likely unnecessary. – Susan Malone Semadeni Mar 29 '16 at 13:21
  • Wait. Are you pasting replies from another site? I went there and couldn't find those, to reply to them properly. Standback got it right. Your reply there Susan, I believe, is incorrect. The non-fiction description of the fictional setting would be the "main body." And the fiction piece illustrates the setting further. So, it doesn't seem misused to me. I've seen the "Prologue/Epilogue" technique used in very similar literature. That's what made me believe it would be valid, too. So, "Interlude" seems to still hold. – Randall Stevens Mar 31 '16 at 12:29

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