Are you guilty of writing an Authorism in the story?

Yep, I learned a new writing term. Well, new to me.

I always thought Authorism pertained to the state or being of an author.

Silly me. 

Now, no gloating if you’re a more informed writer and already knew the term. Even if you’re not guilty of doing this, I confess. I am. Been there done that and bought the tee shirt.

For those writers who are scratching their heads about now, here is what I learned about putting an Authorism in your story from Rob Bignell.



When writing:

  • You get a drink- so does a character. Authorism
  • You open the mail- character zips open a strange letter. Authorism
  • Check the clock- yep character checks time. Authorism
  • You stare at your blank screen- character stares at blank wall. Authorism.
  • You’re hungry, haven’t eaten all day- character, well you get the idea.

These actions in and of themselves are not wrong. What makes them an Authorism is when the actions add nothing to the story. Doesn’t move the plot forward. An Authorism does nothing more than pause your reader, so if your actions do give inspiration for a character do make sure there is a purpose.

When writing:

  • You get a drink- character drinks to avoid talking. NOT Authorism.
  • You open the mail- character receives a letter from a lover. NOT Authorism.
  • You check the clock- character is late for a meeting. NOT Authorism.
  • You realize you’re hungry- character is pregnant and starving. NOT Authorism.

If I understand the term correctly, an action should add to the pace of a story. Not stall it.

Want to read more about Mr. Bignell’s explanation? He explains everything so much better. So click and read the article.

Improve story’s pacing by deleting authorisms By Rob Bignell


Well, what did you think?

Had you ever heard the term Authorism before?

Have you been guilty of letting your characters mimic your actions?

Did it stall your story or add to the pacing?






8 thoughts on “Are you guilty of writing an Authorism in the story?

  1. Only word close to Authorism, that I heard is authoritarian, I know it’s completely different as far as the meaning goes. Authorism is a word I did not see or heard, perhaps I saw it and did not give much thought. Who knows, it’s an important word, many thanks for introducing it. Thanks Jean. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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