Perspective Series: #8 Audience surrogate

Perspective Series: #8 Audience surrogate

The particular point of view we talk about in this new article of the Perspective Series is the Audience surrogate.

This perspective gets its name because a protagonist stands in for the audience reading the story. Let’s see its characteristics.

What is the Audience surrogate?

The Audience surrogate is a particular perspective that considers the reader’s point of view. This is a technique frequently used in detective fiction and fantasy, in which a character asks a central character how they performed specific actions. The purpose is to invite that character to explain why they did specific actions to the reader.

In Audience surrogate, one or more characters ask the same questions like the one that a reader would think. For this reason, the technical definition for the Audience surrogate is that this perspective is the proxy of the reader.

Narrative Perspective: the importance of the Audience surrogate

Thanks to the Audience surrogate perspective, the readers feels completely immersed within the narrative. Their questions and curiosities are anticipated and satisfied by the character in the story itself. Therefore, this character is on the same plane as the reader following the narrative.
It is a type of technique that allows the readers to be involved and to make them feel, in some way, an integral part of the story, so much so that they almost think that that particular character is real.

Audience surrogate: some examples

One of the most evident example of Audience surrogate is Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. In all the adventures of the world’s most famous detective, Watson, who always accompanies him, asks him questions to understand how Holmes arrived at a particular conclusion. Arthur Conan Doyle could have explained the solution of the case in another way, for example, by telling the facts as they happened. Instead, he chose to do so with the Audience surrogate, making Watson serve the reader.

In Harry Potter, Harry himself is a surrogate for the audience. Harry knows nothing, as the reader, about the magical world of Hogwarts. He learns its dynamics, its peculiarities, marveling and explaining them as if the reader himself were seeing them directly.

Your bird, there was nothing I could do. He just caught fire!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

How to use the Audience surrogate perspective

So many narrative techniques, so many perspectives…too many? Not sure where to start? It can happen to anyone. Even the most experienced writers. Every new story has its own history, dynamics, and characters. bibisco, with its innovative novel writing software, helps you understand where to start when writing your story. Above all, it allows you to put order among the many ideas, characters, and narrative techniques at your disposal to write an engaging and captivating story.

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bibisco’s analysis section


Audience surrogate is a very useful perspective to use when it is necessary to make the reader completely enter into an imaginary and completely unknown world. It is also used when the story is so rich in information that it needs a character within the story to clarify the reader’s doubts even before they arise.

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