Monday, 13 August 2007

Authorial Intrusion: Try this clever-clogs technique, Yr 6!

It is 'Lemony Snicket' week here on 'Bald Worm Squeaks to the Nation'. To celebrate, let's study one of Snickets favourite techniques.

First, though, read this (click on the web address to be taken straight to the page):

And have you read this brilliant book yet?

Got the idea? One of the tricks Lemony Snicket uses all the time is something called authorial intrusion. This is when the narrator 'talks' directly to 'you', the reader. Look at these two examples from ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’:

Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children…but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery and despair. I’m sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes.

It is useless for me to describe to you how terrible Violet, Klaus, and even Sunny felt in the time that followed. If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it.

When writing in the ‘third person’ it is possible to directly address the reader – to talk to them your reader as if they were sat on the sofa with you.

You can use this technique in all sorts of stories. Here are two examples from Year Six pupils:

The Dungeon
I hope you are somewhere safe. You better be, my friend. Make sure your door is bolted, the windows firmly closed and the cat flap shut, for you are about to learn a terrible secret…

The Cafe
Pierre waddled along the road, winking at ladies young enough to be his granddaughter. Despite being some five stones over his ideal fighting weight, completely bald and severely lacking in teeth, Pierre still considered himself something of a catch. Dear reader, you should have seen him!

HAVE A GO: Write a story featuring authorial intrusion. Don’t do it too often; perhaps save it for the opening and conclusion of your story.

Want more fun clever-clogs writing tasks? Visit to learn more! Have fun!

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