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  1. #1
    junel ;-)
    Guest

    "Hello... I'm the author..."


    Iíve often seen the advice here that the story should be told (or rather shown) through characters and their actions. I agree with this and try to write in this way.

    But Iím a bit lost when it comes to some novels and writers.

    It will follow the prescribed norms, but occasionally go off on tangents where the author/narrator is most definitely not hiding behind the covers.

    They let their presence be known, forgetting about the main character/s, and while these tangents are related to the story, they are certainly not pivotal to the plot. In fact, the story would continue just fine without these tangents.

    It has a purpose. A good example is when a story is based in a particular city, and the author takes a respite of a few pages to delve into the Cityís history, condition, politics, etc.

    But my point is in these instances, thereís no doubt about it being the author/narrator who is speaking, and they make no attempt to hide their presence.

    Does anyone have an opinion on this? Is there a word for this type of writing? Would anyone recommend attempting to write like this?



  2. #2
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."

    My take on this is if it bothers you as you're reading, then the author is not being as effective as he thought. If things don't flow for you--find yourself uttering "huh"s and "Where is this coming from?"--then job not well done.

    That said, it's possible that the author is effective, and that your ignorance (definitely not in negative sense) is putting a roadblock in your reading pleasure. And that's why it's a beautiful thing that you're asking the board about this. FYI: I'm slow when it comes to technical terms for what we do (I tend to work off of "I'm pretty sure this is how this should go," which is okay at times, but not when trying to answer someone who's looking for the goods )

  3. #3
    Cindy Kay
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."

    I see it more in literary-leaning works, quite common actually. I tend to love it and don't hesitate to write with as many asides, which what I call them, as I want, although often in editing I combine, trim, or delete some of them.

  4. #4
    Don Daffron
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."

    The best example I have ever seen of an author coming out from behind the curtain is in Jack Londonís WHITE FANG. When the pup nearly dies, he writes something like: ďOn this day, the flame of life in White Fang flickers and is nearly extinguished. If that had happened, there would be no story to write about.Ē Thatís from memory not word for word, but itís the gist of it.

    By this time, London supposedly was the highest-paid writer in the world. He was poor most of his life, a total failure. This prompted him to be a Socialist, but when he became wealthy, he changed his tune.

    Funny how that works.

  5. #5
    Don Daffron
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."

    Why arenít these little ďasidesĒ considered info dumps?

  6. #6
    junel ;-)
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."

    Yes.. they are more common in literary novels.

    And I don't mind them really. Firstly, i consider it to be apart of the writer's poetic license. Secondly, while they may interrupt the flow of the story, it's upto me as a reader how far I want include these tangents into my reading pleasure.

    I read a novel recently where the story was in full flow, and then BAM, the writer takes a whole chapter out just to go into the history of a place and the effects on that place by way of discovering oil and greedy multinationals arriving.

    The main character/s were not mentioned once and the plot was sidelined and it was very much the author speaking.

    It did feel like a lecture at times.

    But this author and his novel are included in the school curriculum for Scotland. I doubt without these interspersed "social commentaries" this would have happened.

    It's just writing in such a way would contradict most of the advice I see on this board. And I'm trying to gather opinions on it because I'm probably gonna end up completing my WIP in this way.

  7. #7
    sam albion
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."


    you're the writer- the choice is yours how you tell the story... I think... I think for a lot of us, the propensity, at the beginning, is to be overly worried about what is "right", and "what works". Later, when we've settled in and sold a few books, we'll worry less, I imagine, and loosen up to be more "ourselves"...

    I wonder if, for those authors whose novels become statements about popular culture, or social commentary, that is their version of trying too hard- desperate to give some credence, some weight, to their work, the work MUST mean something, BE about something, beyond it being "merely" a story, entertainment, fiction....

    who knows... Fifty years ago, in England, serious writers had to deal with "issues", especially those of a socialist bent... today, it comes across as contrived... Tastes change, etc, as time moves on...

  8. #8
    Cindy Kay
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."

    junel,

    I think one of the reasons writing how-to books and folks on craft forums tend to stress keeping the exposition to a minimum is because it's such a common fault for a writer to go on and on cramming every bit of their research or thought process into his/her work. We could call this a case of overcomensation because it's harder to talk about the nuance of doing exposition well than it is just to say don't do it.

    The other reason is that long sections of exposition are not as common in popular books, therefore most readers aren't reading much of it and most writers aren't trying to include it, let alone do it well.

  9. #9
    Don Daffron
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."

    Preaching is the last thing you want in a novel. That will turn readers off faster than the poorest writing. There have been lots of writers who never included any kind of exposition and very little description of scenes and characters for that matter. They certainly never beat the reader over the head with preaching.

  10. #10
    Henry Domke
    Guest

    Re: "Hello... I'm the author..."

    I think if done well, short asides can add to a story, by giving you information on the location you normally wouldn't have, but those that are way out there or preachy tend to detract from, if not outright ruin, an otherwise good story.
    If you are going to use asides, or whatever it is they are called, use them wisely and with caution. They could make a good book great, or a great book into tinder for the next campfire.

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