Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or on her author website.
Reading is an act of faith. Someone picks up a book and instantly trusts that the author is going to tell a decent story.
When writing science fiction or fantasy, the author sometimes asks the reader to trust them further as they take the reader into another world. This makes it more difficult for the reader to relate and presents an opportunity to confuse him and shake that act of faith he brought with him into the story.
So, when writing, it’s important to keep in mind the term suspension of disbelief.
This means that readers will give you (the author) the benefit of doubt when reading your story. They’ll hold off on judging you for implausible things—and maybe even some confusing things at first—trusting you to have it all make sense at some point. But if you push this too far, if things become too far-fetched, you risk losing your reader.
This is on you. It’s your job to portray a world with characters, creatures, magic, and situations with enough realism that readers will believe it possible, or suspend disbelief, and enjoy the tale.
So tread carefully. Don’t give your reader a reason to mistrust your storytelling. Use science to make your inventions plausible. Give your reader familiar things to anchor him to reality along with your strange new ideas. Don’t have scaly snakes in arctic environments—unless you can use science to show the reader how it could plausibly happen. Don’t have characters on a fictional planet listening to Michael Jackson music—unless you intend to show how this mythical galaxy is connected to ours.
The reader is ready to trust you. Don’t betray them.
*This is an excerpt from Storyworld First: Creating a Unique Fantasy World for Your Novel.
Also, to celebrate the release of Storyworld First, I'd like to give you some free download links to worksheets I created for the Storyworld First book. Enjoy!
STORYWORLD FIRST PRINTABLES
-Solar System Worksheet
-Single POV Plot Chart
-Two POV Plot Chart
Can you share in the comments a book that so captured you, that you read from start to finish without putting it down?
What about a book that broke the suspension of disbelief? Can you (kindly) share what the author did that pulled you out of the story?