The Suspension of Disbelief

1 - Why Should Fiction Be Believable?

People argue that critics shouldn’t complain about the realism of fictional stories, either because it’s hypocritical to critique just one thing, or because fictional stories don’t need to be realistic. It’s not real — so what if it’s technically incorrect? Read more »

2 - Maintaining Belief During Fantastical Stories

In the film version of The Return of the King, Gollum falls into the lava and slowly sinks. But as it turns out, lava is much too heavy for people to sink into. Gollum should have remained on the surface and burst into flame instead. A science columnist made a point of this inaccuracy. Read more »

3 - Repairing Unbelievable Story Elements

In my last two posts I discussed the importance of belief, and how setting audience expectations are crucial to maintaining it. But setting expectations requires planning ahead. For episodic stories in particular, it’s impossible to plan for everything: An actor on a show could suddenly … read more »