The Author Note

I read tons of fan fiction in my free time. And over time I have come across some things that have made me want to bang my head against the wall.  Sometimes it was atrocious spelling (if its worse then my own, its really really bad, believe me), other times it could be the lack of capitals or punctuation.  And often it is the author notes.

Author notes are for the purpose of speaking to the reader about whatever it is your story that isn’t explained within the story itself, or answering a common question in reviews for the last trouble, or even making a note about the song you listened to or an excuse why its late. I usually include people who helped in the brainstorming and beta’ing of the story.  It belongs at the top and/or bottom of your chapter.

Where it does not belong is in the middle of it.  Over the last couple of months I have constantly come across stories where I’m into the story and get thrown out because the author decided to stick an author’s note into a paragraph.  I spend a few minutes glaring at said author’s note and continue on.  On occasion I have found fics riddled with author notes.

As a reader I am begging the writers:  Please keep the notes to the start or the finish.  If you feel you need to explain something, put an asterisk or a number ala footnotes and explain it later.  Or just explain it in the opening notes. 

When its in the middle of your story it throws the reader off.  Its like floating through a river and suddenly a rock appears.  Also, half the author notes within the story I have seen tend to be commentary rather then explanations.  If you want to do that, do a fic commentary like people do for television shows.   I find the “And he danced to the hokey pokey. (A/N: I love that song!)” to be greatly annoying.

Also, if you feel something needs to be explained, have another character explain it.

I don’t want to sound mean or make it sound like those who do this aren’t good writers.  All I am saying is that I have stopped reading fics before because of excessive internal author notes.  Keep them to the before or after area, and not the during, please.

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One thought on “The Author Note

  1. A nice list you have here! I totally agree with most of your points, it really annoys me! Author notes should always be short and sweet, I don’t know why so many people decide to fill up half of the chapter with it >_< I wrote a post about my own fiction pet peeves, it includes some additional ones that you may not have talked about but I hope you will read and tell me what you think 🙂 http://nynyonlinex.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/fiction-pet-peeves/

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