This post, by Lydia Sharp, originally appeared on The Sharp Angle blog on 9/10/10.
First, I’d like to clarify what author intrusion is NOT. Although they can appear very similar at times, author intrusion is not the same thing as a POV slip.
That little mishap deserves a post all its own. It is also not author influence, which we discussed in a previous post.
So you’re reading [insert title here] and everything so far is just plain awesome. Then you get to the end of a scene or chapter (because this is where authors like to intrude the most often and the most obviously) and you read something like this (extremely generic example here):
Kathy was in love. Her heart skittered. Real love. Little did she know her luck was about to change.
Dun, dun, DUN! Um… actually, something like that has the complete opposite effect as what the author intended. They try to make a cliffhanger by insinuating a coming threat, but it’s out of context and most definitely out of the realm of the POV character’s current knowledge in that scene. Which means the only place that information could be coming from is the author.