Keep the Reader Reading

Several years ago, I joined a car pool.  Work was a 50 min drive away so paying to ride vs drive everyday was well worth it for me.  My favorite part of riding in a car pool is being able to read.  I would read to and from work, well in the summer I could read on the way to work.  I bring this up because some of my fellow passengers never read.

One day I was reading a western, the hero was in trouble (of course).  He was in a creek, and when he came up out of the creek, he pulled his gun and fired.  I am riding in a car with hunters/outdoors-men.  I didn’t know if a wet gun could fire or not.  So I asked.

“What does it matter, the book is fiction, you can do what you want,” was the answer the driver shot back at me.

It mattered to me, if a wet gun does not fire, then the author lost credibility.

Credibility matters, a lot.  True the story is fiction, but it must be believable fiction.  I’ve noticed with the latest comic book movies that, even though they are comics and very unreal, the moviemakers go to great lengths to make them believable.

Speculative Fiction opens up all sorts of unrealistic and imaginative worlds.  However, each story, each world has a set of rules.  Once you’ve set up the rules DO NOT break those rules.  I read a time travel story, however the author set up the fact that the time machine was going back to a parallel time, not the past, but a parallel past.  Then when they went back in time, what they did, did in fact, affect the future time line.  So the past wasn’t parallel after all.  It didn’t work for me.  A great read turned into a turn off.  That author lost credibility with me.

So if you are creating, research to make it believable.  No matter how fantastic and out there the story is, it has internal rules that make it run.  Keep things inside those rules and you keep your credibility.

While riding in that car reading, I would have rather stayed in the story.  Coming out of it to ask fellow passengers if the writer wrote true broke the suspense.  It is so much more fun to stay immersed in the story.  Keep your readers reading, not scratching their heads.

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About Dean C, Rich

I write fantasy. I've four completed manuscripts, but I've learned I've approached this the wrong way. I'm sharing what I've learned so I can help others avoid the mistakes I've made.

2 thoughts on “Keep the Reader Reading

  1. margaretfortune says:

    Interesting post, Dean. You know, as a writer doing research for various novels, I’ve encountered some of the strangest facts, things I would never have believed if I hadn’t read them in a reputable non-fiction source. Should these crazy facts go into my writing? After all, just because they’re true doesn’t mean my readers won’t question them if they seem crazy. So I guess for me, the question of credibility when I’m writing isn’t so much, Can this really happen? but, Can I make the reader buy what I’m selling? Does it matter if the wet gun can actually fire if I can make you believe it can? Food for thought. 🙂

  2. Debra says:

    Very true! I need consistency and believeability! And no, I don’t think a wet gun works.

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