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Hide from your reader.

Avoid authorial intrusion. Until the end of the Nineteenth Century it must have been acceptable to call attention to yourself as the author of a work. Asides, like Shakespeare’s soliloquies or Hawthorne telling us his opinion, are used in many great works. Styles have changed and currently the preference is for the reader to be as unaware of the writer as the viewer of a movie is unaware of the direction. Groucho Marx got away with talking to the audience; you may be grouchy, but you’re not Groucho.

Effective hiding means, among other things, keeping the words you use inconspicuous. If you use an unusual word, explain it soon after its use. Save the reader the guess or, worse, stopping reading to look up the word. She may not return to your manuscript.

The reader is not interested in how much research you’ve done preparing for your novel. Throw a few bits in, entice her interest, but use only those bits that are relevant to plot or character. For example when I write science fiction oaters, I study their destination, but few results of my study make it directly into the novels. I may learn how Blood Moons occur, but my readers won’t—unless it helps drive the story forward.  The picture below was taken from our front yard during the eclipse on September 27. Probably only one person in a thousand is interested in how I took it. Can’t imagine that detail in a novel.

CroppedBloodMoon-2-LR

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