We are happy to welcome Laura Pauling, who has pushed through the publishing craziness to release her newest book! I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of HEIST while I was on vacation, and, as you can see from my Goodreads review, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed it.
Laura is kind of…well, let’s be honest. She’s obsessed with spies. So I was thrilled when she offered to write about The Big Lie…
Suspension of disbelief is the ability to accept the core premise of a story as truth. It usually refers to an unbelievable element such as magic, time travel, or entering a magical land through a wardrobe. Suspending belief is both easy and hard to do.
I love entering a movie or a book with a premise I’m excited about. I’ve made it real easy for the writer because I’ve already suspended my belief. But it’s up to them to keep it suspended. Every plot point, every complication, every twist, they need to prove it again.
Honestly, I think this is just as hard to do with contemporary realistic fiction as it is to do with a time travel thriller. In fact, it may be harder, but that’s another post.
Some quick and easy tips for creating The Big Lie in fiction:
- Don’t break the world building rules you’ve already established.
- The action/reaction of your characters in the world and to the world need to make sense within the context of the story.
- Bring small world building details into the story wherever you can as long as they pertain to the scene. Don’t just drop them in randomly or over do it.
- Make sure your character’s emotional arc and actions are logical because if the reader doesn’t whole-heartedly believe in your character then they are less likely to believe in your premise.
- For me the most important way to lend believability…is the writing. Good writing gets me every time and that just takes time and hard work.
- Don’t make your readers mad by not truly answering the story questions/mysteries you’ve presented. Don’t give them the run-around.
One TV show where I think the writers may have pushed it too far was LOST. They got so fantastical with some of the events that it was just about impossible for them to present a logical explanation that viewers could believe. Then they made some viewers mad by getting a little cheesy with the fountain of youth explanation. This turned many people off.
Me? I loved the whole show and never wavered. I was so invested in the characters that I overlooked everything. There’s definitely a lesson to be learned there.
HEIST is a time travel thriller. Think The Butterfly Effect as a YA novel. I ask the reader to believe in time travel. That’s my big lie. Each time Jack Brodie travels back to the Gardner Museum Heist to fix his mistakes and his world in the future changes for the worse, I have to convince my readers to believe the lie again. (And I hope they do!)
In what books or movies did you believe The Big Lie? I’d love to hear your examples.
Laura Pauling writes about spies, murder and mystery. She’s also the author of the Circle of Spies Series: A Spy Like Me, Heart of an Assassin and the forthcoming Twist of Fate. She writes to entertain and experience a great story…and be able to work in her jammies and slippers. Her book HEIST releases August 15th. Check it out on Goodreads.