Unexpected Glimpses

Tiny sprigs of luscious new growth are appearing everywhere. It’s spring, so I shouldn’t be surprised by these sightings, especially since I’ve been waiting for them all winter. It’s the unexpectedness, though – the delight of discovery when I am glancing at one thing and suddenly notice something else – that catches me unaware and elicits such pleasure.

These glimpses are bonuses… bits of joy among the ordinary.

But what if (the writer’s favourite question), what if the telescope is reversed and you become the object glimpsed? What if in your writing you reveal just a hint of your authorial self to those who are immersed in the lives of your fictional characters?

Such glimpses are not bonuses, but interruptions.

Carol Benedict left a comment yesterday saying she wants readers “to pay attention to what I’m writing, not how I’m writing it.”  She was referring to a quotation by Somerset Maugham about style, but it also applies in principle to those times when we as authors write something that our characters wouldn’t say, see or know. Suddenly we have injected ourselves into the story. We have given the reader an unexpected glimpse of something that shouldn’t be there.

Do you think authorial intrusion matters to most readers? How do you avoid it when you’re writing?