Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday's Inspiration - Suspending Disbelief

Once again I've been delving into an old Writer's Handbook. Read an article by Elizabeth Peters about helping the reader suspend disbelief. This article was geared toward those who write mysteries and suspense but some of the ideas will be of use to everyone. We write fiction now fact and sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. We've all read the strange news story that makes us shake our heads and wonder how this can be possible. In fiction one has to make thse strange events seem logical.

Giving events the hint of plausibility is one way to do this. If the heroine or hero is going to take a step that seems dangerous the writer doesn't want the reader to think they are being stupid. The heroine exploring the basement after hearing a sound. The hero armed with a baseball bat going downstairs after the window breaks. The logical thing would be to hit 911 on the speed dial but that would change the story. Perhaps a cry for help is heard that triggers the response. Just find a way to make it seem logical.

After the story opens one must keep the plot tight. Rule out all coincidences. If your dharacter is going to overhear something make sure you establish that this character has a habit of listening in to other people's conversations in secret. Make the event seem part of the character. If your character is prone to rash action make sure this is shown as a usual thing not a one time event. If you are going to have secret passages make sure this is shown to be a possibility. A reader can believe this in an old castle but putting something like this in a modern house needs to be logical or another way to hide the information the character needs should be found.

So be consistent and make all your choices for the plot, the character and the setting seem logical by building and putting in the telling details.

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