On Author Intrusion / Contest Winner!

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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.)

Huh?

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 rosalielario@gmail.com with your mailing address and I’ll get the books out to you immediately. Smile

A huge thanks to everyone who participated in the contest!

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8 thoughts on “On Author Intrusion / Contest Winner!

    Terry Spear said:
    March 7, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Great post, Rosalie! I think of author intrusion in a different way also…it’s a way of pulling the reader out of the story like you said–saying things like she felt, not in all instances, but in some–instead of showing how she felt. When we say she felt in a case like that–it distances the reader from the character. Oh, she’s feeling that. Not me. 🙂

    Or using omniscient point of view like in one book I was reading where the author described the two men getting out of a vehicle at a crime scene in the dark of night. I’m thinking that whoever is viewing them is me-the bad guy or the character who is important to the story–but no, when the author took the two men into the house, one became the main character and we now see it from his viewpoint. Huh?

    So who was hiding out in the front yard watching the two men arrive?

    I would have become connected with him right away if I had been him, thinking about what he was about to see, thinking about his partner and what he looked like, etc, instead of having an author intrude by telling me what they looked like in a omniscient godly kind of point of view.

    Connecting and sympathizing with the characters right away is important! Super post, Rosalie!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      March 7, 2011 at 8:41 am

      I have issues with omniscient POV too, Terry, and for the same reasons. It doesn’t allow me to get close to the characters. Keeping me at a distance prevents my emotions from engaging. Stylistically understand why an author might want to use the omni POV, but I personally don’t think it has any place in romance. The genre itself is too personal. 🙂 (And yes, I have seen it before in what was billed as a romance; confused the heck out of me.)

    Rachel Firasek said:
    March 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Awesome post as usual. Congrats to Julia! She’ll be so excited. I have to say that I hate reading a book and then bam the author is in my face. A lot of times it’s a political opinion or a stereotype that hits me. I’m okay with that as long as the character is a labeler with left or right wing view during the whole story, but if it just pops up out of no where. Nope, lost me. Thanks Rosalie!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      March 7, 2011 at 10:19 am

      I so agree, Rachel! A novel is not a place for a political rant, IMHO.

    Ciara Knight said:
    March 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I loved that episode because only Dean and Sam could pull that off. 🙂 I can’t stand it in books, though. I mean. I feel like a door to the world opened letting in real life. Yeah, I read to escape. I don’t want real life in there. 🙂

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      March 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      I found myself wavering between like and dislike, Ciara. I think if anyone could pull it off it would be those two. They were hilarious. But I still didn’t love the episode. Hmmm…maybe I’ll watch it again to make sure. 🙂

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    March 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    First – I’m happy I won! Yay!
    Second, yes, I’ve read books where the author has intruded and yes, I am tossed right out of the story and generally speaking, I then toss the book. It’s jarring, really.
    When I read romance, no personal/political/religious agendas, please. When I read a biography/autobiography or a work of nonfiction – feel free to intrude.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      March 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Yes, I completely agree that it depends on what type of book I’m reading. I don’t read romance to be preached to. I just don’t.

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