Showing posts with label Suspension of Belief. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Suspension of Belief. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Suspension of (Dis)belief

I raised an eyebrow when I turned down the hallway at six a.m. this morning and spotted the light spilling out from underneath my daughter’s bedroom door. Usually, waking my kids for school is like rousing a couple cadavers, (corpses who, to my chagrin, effortlessly self-resurrect before sunrise on Saturday and Sunday mornings). Sidney had complained about a tummy ache yesterday, so I half-expected that a campaign to miss school was underway. When I pushed open her door though, I encountered a smiling little girl.

She stood in the middle of her room, her belly button peeking out beneath a too-short pajama top, and her long braided hair bent into a pair of boomerangs flanking her shoulders. In her hand she held her diary.

“You’re up early, sunshine,” I greeted her. “Is everything okay?”

Her eyes sparkled. “Mommy!” she began. “James-y woke me up.”

James was our sweet kitten who passed away from feline-leukemia a few weeks ago. As Sidney's declaration sunk into my pre-caffinated brain, a smile remained fixed on my lips but my eyebrows knitted a little closer together. “What?” I asked.

“James woke me up, but it was still dark. So I peeked out my window and you know what I saw?”

She didn’t wait for me to answer. Drawing in a deep breath that sent her belly button a little further into the room, she said, “Down by the tree, I saw three black cats! They were so cute, Mommy, and they came right up to my window.” She held up her diary. “I’m going to write about it!”

That’s my girl!

Our reality is dictated by our beliefs. Sidney believes James woke her up so she wouldn’t miss seeing those cats. Why not? (I hope it’s true!) One of the goals I embrace as a writer is drawing my readers into my brand of reality, suspending their disbelief. It comes down to the level of authenticity in the writing which can be achieved many ways: through the logical chain of events in the plot, believable dialogue, realistic characterizations, etc.

What’s your favorite device for creating authenticity in your writing, or for suspending your readers’ disbelief? Can you think of a time when you were the reader or viewer, that your disbelief wasn’t suspended? (Think Clark Kent hiding his Super Identity behind a pair of glasses!)

[Artwork at the top of this post by Joied6]