Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Forget to Disbelieve

We all recognise pictures by L S Lowry and we know they are likely to be of Salford. When looking at them you acknowledge that it is not a true picture but you recognise exactly what is being portrayed if through matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs (cue for song...). What happens is we forget to disbelieve. Or as Coleridge put it 'the willing suspension of the disbelief for the moment..' And that is what we are trying to get the reader to do when they read our pieces of fiction whether realist or fantasy. In the same way we do when we look at Lowry's pictures.

Our narratives have to provide enough of a resemblance for the reader to make a connection with the story. This needs to be through verisimilitude. And I would suggest even in fantasy. As a writer you need to create an alternative world that is so believeable we can see the truth in it and forget to disbelieve.

Part of this comes down to writing with the soul and not just the head. The head provides all the details and the practicalities. The soul creates the dream event which replays in the reader's mind. The soul's influence takes the reader by the hand encouraging them to believe themselves to be part of the story - a witness to events. If a reader says to you: 'I got totally involved in that story' you know you've done something right.

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