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Make Me Believe

April 20, 2006

This is all I ask of the author when I pick up a book. No matter if the book is about sex at the office, a broody vamp, a cocky space pirate, a whodunit, or chick lit…just make me believe it. I’m a willing participant, I bought the book, I couldn’t be a more eager reader. All the author has to do now is make me believe the world they created. This is truly what separates average writing from great writing. And its all in the details. You could give the same plot and characters to three different authors and what will set those completed books apart is how much they make you believe.

Example, The Fog. Saw this recently. Now its a well known thing that heroines in scary movies are often stupid. You know that whole “get out of the house”, or “don’t go down to the basement” stuff your chant in your mind that any reasonable person would listen to, yet they ignore. But in the better scary movies, you know why the heroine is being dumb. She’s in the basement because her kid brother often hides down there. Well in the Fog the chick is sitting at the computer, it’s acting all wonky and then she hears a thump and looks up. There on the ceiling is a wet footprint. Now this is where the rational minded heroine at the very least would bolt to her feet and have a “what the fuck” look on her face. Does this chick in the movie? Hell no. She just sits there’s like she’s watching the home shopping channel. So more footprints go across the ceiling towards the door, dripping water, just creepy. Heroine gets up and calmy follows after them outside in the dark and fog. Okay, so while I don’t exactly know how you could write this scene to have a rational heroine follow the steps out the door without looking stupid, I’m sure there is a way, and I would have liked the movie if the writers gave the chick a reason for following, if they gave me a reason to believe.

Book example… In the first or second chapter of a book I was reading the hero and heroine have rather intense “he/she is amazing” type thoughts of each other when they are twenty feet apart, maybe more. They’ve never met before, never said a word to each other, haven’t dreamed about each other before this, no weird vibes that they had a past life together or “know” each other somehow, just two complete strangers where its pretty much love at first sight when they are not even standing directly in front of each other, let alone talking. A few pages later they’re having sex.

I haven’t been able to finish that book yet. I’m fine with instant attraction in a story, I’m fine with sex at the beginning of the story, but not when you can’t make me believe it. Now maybe the characters go on to have this great bond further in this particular book, but if from the beginning I’m doubting this author’s ability to make “me” believe, then it’s hard to finish.

So bottom line – No matter if the book is fantasy, comedy, paranormal, or just a good old fashion suspense, if they make me believe then I’ll by. It’s that simple.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Caffey permalink
    May 1, 2006 3:49 am

    Sydney, I have a problem too with TSTL heroines. I hate most when they do ignore when the hero asks them to stay back and the heroine decides to do it anyways, and puts the hero in harms way, or injured, or even if the heroine gets hurt. If suppose my husband was a specialist in trapping down a murderer with a weapon, and I’m a teacher, I’d let him go do his thing! It could be the other way around with the heroine having that skill, the point is I roll my eyes when they put the other person in danger cuz they want to “help”. I love the authors books, love the heros, but seems often the heroines are like this.

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