A few weeks ago I saw an episode of Supernatural where the Winchester brothers traveled to a parallel world in which they were actors named (you guessed it) Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. (For those of you who don’t watch the show, those are the names of the actual actors who play the brothers.)
While I’m sure some people found it cute (and I did too, in an I-heart-Jensen-Ackles-and-daydream-of-stalking-him sort of way), I don’t really want to know that much about the actors’ real lives. That got me thinking about something else related to this topic: author intrusion.
Have you ever read a book where the hero or heroine did something that felt out of character? Where the main characters seemed purposely manipulated to be in a certain time and place? If so, you might have experienced author intrusion.
Author intrusion is where an author inserts something into the story that doesn’t seem to fit, and does so to meet a specific agenda: whether it’s making a political or moral point, or forcing the plot somewhere it doesn’t seem to want to go.
So why is author intrusion such a bad thing? Because it draws the reader out of the story. When you write a story, you are trying to fold your readers into your world. You want them to feel like your story is actually happening, even if realistically they know it’s not. Anything that makes your readers stumble or draw away from the story runs the risk of them putting your book down and never picking it back up. This is true even if they don’t consciously know what it was that turned them off to the story.
Ever put down a book because something just wasn’t right, even if you didn’t really know what that was? Yeah, me too. Chances are, you might have been experiencing author intrusion.
So have you ever noticed author intrusion in a book? If so, how did you feel about it? (No book-naming please!) Did you see that episode of Supernatural I’m referring to? What did you think?
And Now for the 4-Book Contest Winner! (picked via random.org)
Congratulations to: Julia Rachel Barrett!!
Julia, send a private email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and I’ll get the books out to you immediately.
A huge thanks to everyone who participated in the contest!