This post will likely be a brief one, because the subject of author interference is fairly easily addressed with one simple piece of ad...

Author Interference Author Interference

Author Interference

Author Interference

This post will likely be a brief one, because the subject of author interference is fairly easily addressed with one simple piece of advice:
Of course, I should probably expand on that just a wee bit, and highlight a few of the (many) different forms of this most heinous of author-perpetrated atrocities.

1) "As You Know Bob" Dialog
This is when the author makes the characters talk about things it makes no sense for them to talk about, in order to communicate necessary information to the reader. Characters who have known each other for years will suddenly talk about each other's hair and eye color, or the number of siblings one characters has, or any other number of facts that, were these characters not poorly-written works of fiction, would have LONG been established.
Characters who talk in this way are pale shadows of what they could otherwise be. They're the monsters on Dr. Frankenstein's table who never received the lightning strike. Worst of all, they're gigantic red flags that announce to the reader that NONE OF THIS IS REAL. 
Here's a vital tip for fiction writers the world over . . . don't use your characters as your personal ventriloquist dummies. This is their story, not yours. If you think it's yours? You might be doing this writing thing wrong. Hate to break it to you, but YOU are the dummy. Shush up, get to know your characters as the three-dimensional creatures they have it in themselves to become, and LET THE LIGHTNING STRIKE.
My metaphors are mixing, but you get what I mean.

2) Overt Use of Inner Dialog
Some authors figure out that using dialog is a painfully obvious way to communicate information and, thinking they've found a lovely little loophole around the problem, use the inner dialog instead. Their main character runs into someone they know and immediately starts thinking about their friend's backstory. How their parents were divorced two years ago and that their dream is to become a champion chess player but their carpal tunnel is acting up, and oh right, they really hate onions.
Tip: NORMAL PEOPLE DO NOT THINK LIKE THIS. If you mentally assess everyone you encounter and do a quick inner monologue on their life story and dietary preferences, you are in need of immediate psychiatric attention. GET HELP. For the love of words, spend a little time thinking about your mental reactions to various situations. Do you mentally describe rooms to yourself when you walk into them? Do you synopsize the lives of everyone you know? Do you think at length about your own life and how you got to where you are now?
Now, there do have to be moments where these things are touched on in the inner dialog. If your main character doesn't have a certain amount of perceptiveness and introspection, we're not going to learn a hell of a lot about them and their world. But please DIAL IT BACK. One of the number one hallmarks of novice writing is a propensity to use inner dialog to tell the story and frankly, this has the unintentional side effect of making your main character look a bit like a sociopath. 

3) Imposed Morality
I could write for pages on this subject alone, but I'll just strike a glancing blow and move on. 
 It makes sense for certain characters in your stories to have similar moralities to you. But if every single one of them does, you have a problem. Your characters should not be a clone army of mini-you's. They should have their own sense of morality based on their individual upbringings and life experiences. Now me, I'm religious. I believe in a loving God who wants me to live my life in a certain way, and (most of the time) I act accordingly. 
Many of my characters do not.
There are few things more off-putting than reading a book in which the author uses their characters to preach their own morality (or other strong opinions). It's obvious. It's annoying, And it often creates a disconnect between the reader and the story. There will always be pieces of ourselves woven into our characters, and one could easily argue that there should be. But not every piece. If reading stories about people different than ourselves inspires empathy, how much more can we learn from writing characters different than ourselves?
The world is full of a rich variety of cultural, moral, political, and religious beliefs. Ideally, our stories should reflect this. Let your characters be who THEY are, not who YOU are.

4) Purple Prose
I bring this one up because it's one of my personal weaknesses. I love pretty words. I love stringing together long strands of them in lyrical, poetic ways. And sometimes I get so caught up in doing so, I slip out of my main character's voice and into my own. When I'm revising my manuscript and come across a particularly flowery passage, nine times out of ten it's coming from me rather than my main character.
Just because it's beautiful, doesn't mean it's right.

5) Emotional Authenticity
When a character gets mad or sad or glad for no immediately obvious reason, it can feel like author interference. Like you were having a crap day and took it out on your characters, or like you got so tired of them being surly and broody you gave them a sudden dose of Happy Juice.
I only put my finger on this particular issue recently, when I was worn out by all the horrible things that had been happening to my main character. I wanted to give her a break. I wanted her to have at least a brief taste of joy before everything went to hell again. And I realized I could not control her emotions. At all. I thought there was a switch I could flip to make everything all hunky-dory again, but someone built a wall over that switch. And that someone was HER. Because somewhere along the way she became too real for me to control. She became like one of my children in a way; this incredibly complicated soul who on some level I understand and on others is a complete, frustrating, delightful mystery to me.
I realized that my main character is ALIVE, the lightning bolt hit home, and the "monster" is completely out of my control.
We NEED to lose control from time to time. We need to create characters and stories so powerful, so alive, that nothing can still their inexhorable rush forward. This is what we can and SHOULD strive for. Authorhood can be a small, tantalizing taste of the divine. 
I urge you to SAVOR it. This is one of the dividing lines between mediocre stories and extraordinary ones. Make sure you're on the right side.


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