My dear Miss Snark,
How do you feel about footnotes in fiction works (outside fantasy linguistics)? Say a few characters were talking, and mention something in passing which most readers are probably unfamiliar with, but with which all the characters are; would a footnote be preferable to an "as you know, Bob"? Or should we just make like Dan Brown and add in an arrogant, patronizing narration?
Before I read Jonathan Stroud I would have poo-pooed the idea of footnotes with a great deal of snarkiness. After reading him, I'm not quite so sure. Done well, ok. Done badly, ew ew ew.
The trouble with footnotes is that they break up the narrative drive with a sledgehammer. Even Stroud's have that effect but his are hilariously funny, develop the character, give some of the backstory...and did I mention funny?
As You Know Bob is to be avoided at all costs. I'll keep the footnotes if I can Kill Bob.
Patronizing narration? ew ew ew. But Dan Brown sold sixty gazillion copies so yanno...have at it.