Readers want to pick up a book and lose themselves in a fantasy world, a mystery, or a romance. They will believe that a farmhouse from Kansas can travel through time and space and squash a wicked witch in the land of Oz. Or that an elderly English spinster will solve the mystery and save the day, because Miss Marple always catches her man (or woman). Can a Civil War-era southern belle rebuild an entire plantation all on her own? We believe that if anyone can, Scarlett O'Hara is the girl for the job. We willing suspend our disbelief because the author makes us believe and makes us want to believe. Through the development of characters, plot, and setting we accept the story the writer delivers and find ourselves fully invested in following it through to The End.
In recent months, I've read two unrelated stories where the heroine died (or appeared to die) but was actually in a herb-induced very deep sleep. In one case the reader knew the plan ahead of time and in the other the reader learns of the plot twist as it occurs. In both cases the authors excelled in creating a believable back story, conflict, and tone as to make the scenario not only credible, but entirely thrilling.
So, I've been thinking about this whole suspension of disbelief business and I am curious about your thoughts, too. What scenarios have you read that seemed unbelievable but the author developed so well that it made perfect sense for the story? What books would you recommend with those captivating plot twists that leave you holding your breathe and racing to the last page? And what plot turns have you read that just left you feeling disappointed and shaking your head. ( Please, in this case, don't use the titles or the author's names.)
We know that many of the things in the stories we read aren't plausible, but, when the author does it right, we just can't seem to get enough.
Nikki Studebaker Barcus