Alert Janeite Patrice sent us a scan of an article from the latest issue of the Authors Guild Bulletin that discusses how writers of narrative create illusions like magicians. (No link, unfortunately, but we’ll quote the relevant text.)
Here is another trick: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. . . .”
An attitude of mind, this time. A way of looking at people that is ironical, shrewd, faintly derisive, and that suggests every other kind of writing is a trick (this is a special trick, in itself) and that the book is going to be about life as it really is, not some fabrication of the author’s.
Not to mention setting up the action brilliantly!