What is 'Author Intrusion'? A couple of people have asked me, so it seems time to tackle the question.
Imagine a reader, sitting on a bus, nose buried in a novel. There's a magic in good story telling. It has the power to take that reader away from the place she is sitting. She is no longer commuting to work. She is in Africa. Or America. Or the future. Or wherever the story is set. The bus, the seat, even the words printed on the page dissolve and she sees, with her mind's eye, the events of the story unfolding before her.
It is a trance-like state. It is one of the hallmarks of good story telling. It is also one of my goals as a writer. But the spell will be broken the moment the reader becomes aware of the presence of a writer who does not belong in the story. This is what I understand by 'author intrusion'.
There are many ways in which an author can intrude. For example, the narrative informing the reader of information not known to the point-of-view character. Or the inclusion of words and images that have no place in the world of that story. Or when the writer tries to be too clever with elaborate stylistic flourishes.
My general advice is to avoid author intrusion. But there are no rules in creative writing and there will be cases where it works well.
If you haven't already seen it, make a point of watching the movie 'Stranger Than Fiction'. It is a story about stories. It contains a line which is an example of one of the best known forms of author intrusion.
"Little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act, would result in his imminent death."