What is the key to creating suspension of disbelief? - Page 2


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Thread: What is the key to creating suspension of disbelief?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Or how do I create suspension of disbelief?
    Verisimilitude.

    This is basically the appearance of being true or real.

    This was a word that Richard Donner basically lived by when he made Superman: The Movie. He knew he was dealing with a wildly unrealistic idea, so the only way to make it feel real to the audience was to take it the concept of "a man who can fly" 100% seriously. The movie could have humor, when when it came to Superman and his abilities, the film never wavered in presenting him as real.

    Readers inherently bring a suspension of disbelief with them into a story. You, as the author, can't "create" it, but you CAN break it. If your world is honest within its own set of rules, you can maintain the suspension of disbelief contract with your reader. If you start to defy the internal logic of your story in order to make it easier for you to get from one plot point to the next, you will break your contract with your readers and they will cease to believe your story.

  2. #12
    Oh okay thanks, that makes sense. Is there a way to get from one plot point to the next without having to overcomplicate the plot, and still have verisimilitude? Because I feel like I have too much plot to get through and want to cut down, but is that possible, or should I just accept that there is a lot of it, if that's what's required to have verisimilitude?

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh okay thanks, that makes sense. Is there a way to get from one plot point to the next without having to overcomplicate the plot, and still have verisimilitude? Because I feel like I have too much plot to get through and want to cut down, but is that possible, or should I just accept that there is a lot of it, if that's what's required to have verisimilitude?
    Well, the way I look at is that your story can be complex, but your plot should be simple.

    Your plot is the central conflict of your story. Your protagonist has a specific goal, and the conflict is the antagonistic forces working against that goal.

    If you have more than one central conflict going on, then you probably have two stories and should think about writing them separately. If your protagonist's central goal isn't very clear, your readers won't connect with it. If the protagonist's central goal changes too much from the beginning to the end of the story, then you're probably, again, writing two different stories and should separate them.

    Assuming you've got one clear plot and one clear central conflict, if you still feel like your story feels overly complex, then you may be bogging it down with too many details, too many subplots, or you may be poorly foreshadowing how one event leads to the next. You can start looking at individual scenes of your story and and being brutally honest about how necessary they are. If you remove a scene, does it change the story? No? Then you probably should remove it to simplify things (or figure out how to simplify the scene or convey the same info through another, more necessary scene). If removing a scene would ruin the story, then look at how you got to that scene. Does the scene "just happen," or do earlier scenes logically suggest this is where the story should go?

  4. #14
    Oh okay. Well most of my problems deal with, when I want more than two characters to arrive in the same place at the same time. It's a lot easy with two, because one has a reason to go after the other, so that's how to two characters arrive in the same place and time. But if you want a third character to arrive in the same place and time, to witness the events, or become accidentally harmed, so the plot can go a certain way, that's the tricky part with me, is getting that third character in the same place and time, that the other characters did not expect to show up.

    So I am wondering what I am doing wrong there. I don't think I have two many subplots, when comparing to other stories though.

  5. #15
    I sadly agreed with vranger and inthirdperson. Rewriting using a field that is the law is difficult if you plot ahead not taking in mind plot questions you ask people concerning the police. I do rewrite all the time because I have no choice. How do we improve? Even advanced drafts are bound to have mistakes. I say a police drama can be saved if you start planning ahead of time and focus on the character rather than plot. By the way a tip I think that works is to research the emotion you want to portray. For inferiority search what causes it on the internet or if there is a definition and explanation. Today I was researching emotions to depict the characters better and detect negative emotions experienced by family or me. When you plot you need to use your mind, and focus on not involving the law in your story unless you consult the police, a detective, or someone else. I think velo or winston would be correctional officers but I dont know if they know the law like some do. I don't think relying on a plot based on rogue policemen will help you write this story if you need to ask them a lot of questions. In that case give them verisimilitude. Make them pay for the illegal mistakes in the storyline. Make it happen like in real life. The police department covers it up could be possible.

    But still dont give up, and keep trying. Be optimistic. I think this thread has excellent advice but I dont want to discourage you. I've felt that way before. Include less plot parts where you need to be an expert in law. Maybe talk to some people such as luckyscars if he willing to help. I know people are busy. So it is difficult.

    Focus on character rather than plot if that makes sense.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; May 23rd, 2020 at 05:51 PM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  6. #16
    Oh okay, thanks. It's mostly the legal problems that are getting in the way of the story, because even if I concentrate on the characters, which is what I am doing, I want the characters to have certain pay offs in their development, but the legalities of how the system works realistically, keeps telling me no, legally that cannot happen with the character, without legal consequence.

    Now if I where to have consequences for the main character, he would be fired less than halfway through the story though, and I need him to be an officer still to remain on the case, for the story to go where I want it to go though. So is believable if he is not fired? Maybe just chewed out? But the readers said, chewed out only doesn't mean anything, and that he would be fired, in order for it to have verisimilitude.

    And another thing, is if the detective is fired for going outside the law, it leads to fruit of the poisonous tree, so any consequences means the case is thrown out. Therefore, if I want the main character to succeed in the case, which I do, he is not allowed to have consequences. Because consequences mean the case will not work.

    So in order to have verisimilitude, the main character should have consequences, but he cannot have consequences, if the villains are to be punished in the end. So it feels like a big paradox.

    And yes, I try to do as much research as possible before writing, but then when I give it to a couple of readers, I missed spots, I didn't even realize of course.

    But the reader also said this is a problem too. They said it's not believable how the main character is handling different aspect of the case, that would be covered by different people. One cop will come in cover, the initial first crime, then another will come in later and cover certain parts, then another will come in and take over, etc. But if I wrote it this way, I'd be switching protagonists, at least four times as the case reached different stages, rather than sticking to one protagonist throughout. Do I have to go through four protagonists, to have verisimilitude?

    For example, when the main character has a suspect to arrest, I was told he wouldn't do it, some beat cop would go do it. But the arrest leads to a dramatic plot turn, which I want the MC to be present for. Not some beat cop, who has no prior involvement in the story. So that makes me wonder, can I stretch this and still have it be believable?

    But also thank you very much for the input and optomism.
    Last edited by ironpony; May 23rd, 2020 at 07:29 AM.

  7. #17
    I write from gut and instinct and there's nothing wrong with that. A cop that is beat down? I think the advice you got was good in the workshop which I read. I think it is a good idea for you to follow that advice so you can get whatever you want written.

    When I think of a beat down cop it was one that wants revenge because he was a victim of violence. Revenge is caused by feelings of injustice if that helps you (it has been studied by psychology and articulated well almost like a dictionary entry). Sounds like an interesting character. Remember the police can suffer injustices too. It could be a potent theme and even character motive to turn rogue. The crooked police officer has been done before, but he is always the antagonist ("Witness" the movie comes to mind). But don't ask plot related questions that could lead to loopholes in plot if you can avoid it. Continue writing but try to avoid talking about potential plot twists. Character is story too. Don't analyze your story and write it as a character study if that helps you improve as a writer. Resist the urge to use the law as being integral to the plot and how he will be punished. Let him be a good cop.

    So I recommend he be a noble character which is much easier than a villainous character to write it (and less of a challenge and less of a headache). A police officer who breaks the law will get their comeuppance unless you read a newspaper article where they do not get punished since fiction is like real life too. Lolita was based on real life, and Nabokov wrote about a bad main character. Maybe it can be written. But realize he will go to jail. Is his goal to save his kidnapped daughter? I think I saw a movie with a mayor who was involved with using a cop to do crooked things but I do not remember the name. In that movie the mayor goes to jail. His wife cheated on him, and in addition to this that was his motive to get revenge. There were some crooked policemen who helped him almost get his revenge but I don't remember if the policeman was a cop and was the mc.

    So I think it's actually a bad idea if he seeks revenge and is a crooked cop. The rules of storytelling in movies if I could guess means he needs to do good things.

    I recommend you base it on a real life cop turned rogue if you ever do this. I realize writing is using the imagination but this is a movie and not a novel if that makes sense. Very few could pull what Nabokov did (newspaper article story in which he actually bought the story of the little girl in court, and he used the real life story to write a novel). Google it and you will see. The antihero is also difficult to write. Make things easier for yourself. Also since the writer is part director, you can use your draft to rewrite it into a better story. A movie that is marketable to the masses.

    I know it's difficult to write what you are trying to plot. So make it easy for yourself. Try to write focusing on the character and their moral conflicts to change into a better person. A person who seeks revenge must change to the opposite pole with a good and positive result. He must be a peacekeeping person as a rough example. Can you write based on that premise? I don't know, you are the writer so keep writing to discover what the plot will look like. Revenge is bittersweet after all. Or keep reading. Some day you will get the inspiration needed. Remember this the character's worldview must change inside their minds and that is the most basic definition of a character plot. Someone who is angry will need to change to the opposite sort of character. They need to for example to manage their anger. To control it by the end of the story. If not one there will be consequences and that is his flaw. That is the "character arc" where the character reverses the flaw and is hurting everyone. He needs to overcome it. I hope this makes sense and is a better answer. Keep writing and don't give up. I encourage you to keep trying.

    If you base it on a real story also the movie can be thought to be credible. But since the imagination makes for writing things without resorting to buy a story since it could be costly it would be a lot of worry.

    The short answer is. It depends. If a police beat down character is evil no one probably will believe his actions.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; May 23rd, 2020 at 07:04 PM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  8. #18
    Oh ok. Well I tried concentrating more on character before, but I was told I am not paying enough attention to the legal aspects.

    But the more legally realistic I write it, the more boring it starts to become because all the legal red tape gets in the way if drama though. That's my dilemma as well.

  9. #19
    Honestly, confidence. Versimilitude (or in less grounded stories, internal logic) helps, but if you don't believe in your story your readers won't. I think you're getting pulled and pushed by reader opinions because if there's a lack of consistent artistic vision, readers will grasp at straws to explain what's wrong with the plot ("why didn't he just do x?" etc.). But I genuinely don't think plot or realism is your problem. It's confidence, vision. You know (or you should know) whether you want to make a hyper-realistic legal drama or a more character-driven crime movie. Ultimately, if readers/viewers are going to suspend their disbelief, have to want to first. So, what are you giving your readers to believe? Ask yourself: why would someone choose to read this?
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.



  10. #20
    Oh okay, well when I first started writing it, I believed in the story more than the readers did, and so I thought that after they didn't believe in it, than my beliefs in it started going down, but did I do something wrong in the early stages, if I believed fully in the story, but they did not?

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