Suspending Disbelief

Writers sometimes ask a lot of their readers. No more so when we write action, fantasy, science fiction and horror. It is within those realms that we ask our readers to suspend disbelief. That is to ignore their critical faculties, to sacrifice reason, to set aside logic and to believe the surreal and the absurd for the sake of entertainment. Poet/philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge is credited with coining the term in 1817.

I’m always a fan of writing that makes sense, but sometimes the ‘makes sense’ part is subject to the fictional world in which it exists. In the far future, in another dimension, when the surreal world encroaches upon our own, the reader must let go of his preconceived notions and the things he knows to be true in order to enjoy the story he’s reading. Really, how much more fun is it to believe the impossible for the length of a novel than to constantly remind one’s self what is true?

Of course, there are are many shades of this particular grey and some ‘disbeliefs’ will more easily suspended than others. You might be able to get ‘aboard’ an alien starship because the existence of aliens has neither been proven nor disproven. Perhaps you don’t buy into the concept of alien life in our universe but you may be able to enjoy a story set in the distant future because we can only imagine the kinds of amazing technology humans will develop given enough time. Maybe you like a modern day conspiracy theory story with a shadowy government organization operating behind the scenes. In all of these examples there is that leap of imagination requiring the suspension of disbelief.

So if you find that suspending disbelief is not something you easily do, then realistic fiction will be your only cup of tea. I do hope you like tea in all its many flavors!

The Year Of Drawing Adventurously – Week (37) Fantasy

Following the chart to 52 drawings this year.

The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a mythical creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and sometimes an eagle’s talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds by the Middle Ages the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Since classical antiquity, Griffins were known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.*

Here is my fantastical gryphon:

*history totally swiped from Wikipedia!

I Need a Purple Crayon

I still like buying actual, physical books. Last year, I went searching for an unusual book and stumbled upon a great online used book store: ABE Books. They sell unique, rare and collectible books as well as popular titles, too. And I’m not sure why I’m telling you that… Ah, yes, now I remember. Since I’ve been a customer, they send emails with suggestions for books I might enjoy. In one of their recent advertisements, they featured a children’s book author/illustrator and it had me reminiscing about books I loved as a child.

Do you remember Harold and the Purple Crayon? I’m not sure if its still popular. Not having kids prevents you from being up on these kind of things. “Harold” might be the first book I was obsessed with. And of course it’s about escaping into another world – one Harold creates himself. It seems like that recurring dream had an early start in my life! Here is the story of Harold and the Purple Crayon:

Header image via TV Tropes.