Friday, April 15, 2011

My very first guest: Traci Bell


Entangled by Traci Belltoday, we welcome Traci Bell, the author of Entangled. Traci’s fantasy romance debuted last month from Crescent Moon Press and is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Entangled is about a teacher who’s pulled to another world by her soul mate, where she must suspend her disbelief in order to stop natural disasters that aren’t natural. Since a very important part of Traci's book is the suspension of disbelief, it is the subject of her post. Feel free to comment.

Suspension of Disbelief

Definition: The temporary acceptance as believable of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible. This is usually to allow an audience to appreciate works of literature or drama that are exploring unusual ideas.

Being a fantasy and paranormal romance writer, I’m fascinated with the concept of suspending disbelief. How do successful authors do it? How far can you take the reader before he/she pulls back and puts a book down in disgust?

I know when I get frustrated with a book, television show, or movie, it is because the writer did not stay true to its reality, or its characters. I’ve walked away from plenty of shows that made a character do something for ratings, something that the character would never have done based on previous ethics and values that governed that characters behavior.

In my novel, Entangled, my heroine is a teacher from earth who must travel to another universe to save the hero’s people from natural disasters. Without the reader’s ability to suspend disbelief the book would be a difficult read. After all, no one in the real world is strong enough to change the weather.

So the first thing I tried to do was make the heroine someone readers could relate with. She’s a divorced teacher. She’s curious, empathetic, and just a tad dissatisfied with her life. Do you know anyone with those qualities? Do you share any of them yourself? Are her reactions to the choice given her natural for a divorced teacher with those qualities? If I’d made her a die-hard cynic, would you have believed she would even attempt to help the hero?

Second, I slowly threaded in details that explain how it just might be possible for someone to impact something as powerful as the weather. I threaded in ‘rules’ that govern how the universe works in the parallel world. Then I forced myself to stay consistent with those rules. Readers are smart – they catch those glitches : )

As a reader, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What has a book, television show, or movie done that made you walk away and not care what happened next because you could no longer willingly suspend your disbelief?


TeresaR said...

I actually don't mind if the main character is not someone I can relate to, but what drives me away is when a book/movie has too much "stuff" - when magic is pile on top of already established magic to serve no purpose other than to twist the plot further. :}

Cat said...

You are so right. It's very important that every item that's out of the ordinary is important to the story. But I agree with Tracy too. The item needs to be plausible in the context of your story. For example, if you say that in your world there is no way, not even magic, that a creature can fly, then you can't have birds, students on flying broomsticks, airplaines or flying carpets. No matter how urgently you need them. It would spoil the suspense of disbelief.

Traci Bell said...

I agree, as well. I think readers pick up on when additional magic continues the story in a natural way, versus when it's forced to hold up the plot.

TeresaR said...

Oh yes, Traci made great points! And while it doesn't bother me if I can't relate to the main character, I agree it is a lot more fun to read a story that has a heroine I can identify with. :)