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Advent IVIn academic writing, footnotes are expected. Today I spent 90% of my day revising footnotes in the “Redeeming Humanity” book chapter. Here are five quick things I’ve learned about footnotes…

1. They always take longer than you think to track down and revise.
2. They indicate that you know who you are talking to and what the conversation is about.
3. My chapters average 58 footnotes each.
4. Footnotes should connect to and support the story I’m telling, not just show off what I know.
5. Footnotes should point the way to further exploration for really curious readers.

4 thoughts on “Advent IV”

  1. They are very good footnote reminders – be careful that pile of books doesn’t fall on you today. The photo makes me feel much better about my own desk though. I’m off to buy the ingredients for 90 christingles for our youngest’s primary school service this morning before I write – active advent waiting! As you say, keeping vigil with you. Wishing you a happy, peaceful and footnote filled advent 4.

    1. Okay, Christine – you have to send me a recipe for christingles. Hope the ingredient list is short and they go together with the greatest of ease! I hope at the end of today, I can reshelve that mighty stack of books! Happy writing to you, also! It’s great to have trans-atlantic company 🙂

  2. There’s also a #6: Expressing an opinion that you don’t have enough confidence in to put in the body, but feel too strongly about to not say anything.

    1. This is a delicate one to balance isn’t it Wendell? As a librarian, I suppose you know.
      Honestly, I should add #7: Footnotes go where I owe someone credit, but prefer to preserve the authority of my voice the and the voices of the women in my book rather than defer to another expert voice. Thanks for thinking with me about it!

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