The Page a Day Writers Group

Writing In an Imagined World

Posted on: December 8, 2009

In my current work-in-progress, my protagonist uses her long-forgotten supernatural powers to save the day. I love the concept, but I’m constantly at odds with how to weave in enough information to make her unusual ability credible. I’m asking my readers to suspend disbelief, have faith in my writing and join me in a jaunt through my imagined world.

According to Steve Almond, author of Not that You Asked, “Readers will happily suspend their disbelief (even in the face of space aliens and angels) if they feel their emotional and logistical questions have been addressed, and if they world the encounter feels internally consistent.”

I agree. Consistency is key to creating supernatural, mythical or fantasy worlds. In my favorite movie of all time – It’s a Wonderful Life, the writer stays true to its implausible premise: What life would have been like had George Bailey never been born.

Frank Capra co-wrote this enchanted tale of an angel swooping down from heaven to make George’s request of never being born a reality. In scene after scene, we watch as the story unfolds to show how one man’s life touches so many other lives. It demonstrates the void left when George had never been born.

Almond says “In the end, plausibility in fiction isn’t’ about adhering to the facts of the know world, but the imagined world.” I sure hope he’s right.

Claire Yezbak Fadden

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1 Response to "Writing In an Imagined World"

My mother always told me that you have one job as an audience member: A willing suspension of disbelief.

Being someone else who expects people to believe in some unusual abilities (or unusual creatures), I can say tell them whatever you like. As long as you don’t break your own universal rules, we’ll believe it.

I have been disappointed by other authors/scriptwriters in the past, but it was only because they asked me to believe something they hadn’t establish, or they break the rule the set up at the beginning.

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The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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