Monday, August 14, 2017

Author Intrusion by Mary Deal

Author intrusion is something I saw a bit of in new writers’ manuscripts when I did a lot of editing.

A story is usually told through the mind of one or more characters. It’s known as the story’s point of view (POV). (Also see the article Choosing a Point of View above in The Parts) The reader is only allowed to know what the point of view character perceives and experiences internally.

Here’s a correct sentence written through a character’s mind, told in 3rd Person POV:

~ Sara watched with nerves on edge, unsure of what she was seeing.

Now told using author intrusion:

~ If we look at Sara, we see that she is hesitant about getting involved.

In the 3rd Person POV, we are in Sara’s mind experiencing hesitation with her.
In the author intrusion example, the author stopped the story to speak directly to the reader, telling the reader what Sara experiences, instead of letting the reader be Sara.
In the past, many stories were told in this manner. The author seemed to speak directly to the reader, or as if the writer were addressing a group of people. This method of storytelling has become passé. Readers want to become their favorite characters and experience with them and not simply be told by a narrator.
Author intrusion is easily avoided if the writer stays in the mind of the point of view character. The character will not stop the story to speak to the readers.

Author Mary Deal



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