“Suspension of Disbelief” is a term I have found linked to good storytelling. The reader may not believe that elves exist. They may not believe in aliens or out-of-this-world encounters. They may believe the world is a perfect place without-poverty, crime, or prejudice (obviously this reader may need to get out more). But, when they pick up your story, just for a moment, they choose to suspend their disbelief and jump on your ride as you take them on a journey.
They choose to set aside what they believe and see the world through your eyes for a moment. Whether it is through the eyes of a magical creature embarking on a quest in a fantasy world, a homeless injured war vet turned vigilante in Los Angeles, or an eccentric professor monologuing about robots being our future. Whatever the setting, whomever the characters—the reader wants to believe in what is happening.
This is where character development and storytelling collide. You could develop a character that has a lot of layers. Kyren is an Elvin princess. Her family was murdered which sent her on a quest for revenge. During this quest she ran into a wizard and learned the art of sorcery. Next, she came across a mute monk who taught her how to fight. Suddenly Kyren meets her adversary. Does she use the sorcery or fighting skills she picked up along the way to defeat her adversary? No, instead she disintegrates the adversary into a pile of ash from laser beams that blast from her eyes. At this moment are you saying, “wait, what?”
The suspension of disbelief has suddenly been popped and while the reader had been tracking with your make-believe nonsense up to this point you’ve now made things so unbelievable; they are no longer sure they want to invest in your story.
Challenge for You: Evaluate your story. Do all the details tie together or is there one detail standing out like a cowlick on a two-year-old?
I’ve had stories that started out really strong and fizzled out. The main reason is that I lost interest in writing them. The story was fun at first but I soon lost interest in writing in. I lost belief in the world I was creating and the characters I was leading. When the creator loses their belief, the reader will be soon to follow.
Tip of the Day: Believe in the story you’re telling.
#NaNoWriMo #writerscommunity #authorlife #storytelling #suspensionofdisbelief
Nicole Donoho, owner of Teddyfly LLC, enjoys writing stories for all ages. She currently lives in Northwest Arkansas where she takes in the beauty of the Natural State with her husband, Jacob, and their three sons-Elijah, Josiah, and Solomon.
At Teddyfly LLC, we are seeking the change that we want to see within ourselves and those around us.