Archive for August 24th, 2009

Aug 24 2009

How to Beat Disbelief and Immerse Readers

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

1.  YOUR READERS NEED TO KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE.

  • Characters should act consistently.  It’s usually better to err on the side of a trait being too strong/consistent than too weak/half-hearted.  When characters grow and change, his change should be caused by something understandable and visible.  Don’t leave your readers wondering why this character is acting like that.
  • Powers like time-travel, memory-alteration, impersonation and sometimes resurrection can make it very difficult to understand what is going on.  (Is that memory real or imagined?  Who remembers what? Who’s dead?)  I would not recommend adding these powers lightly.  If readers are confused, they will be jarred from the story.  Don’t make the reader work to understand the basic facts of your story.
  • Don’t be coy with readers.  If the point-of-view character knows something relevant (like backstory or something he knows or can observe), the reader is entitled to know the same.  I strongly recommend against trying to create drama by having the POV hide information from the readers.  “Surprise, I was the killer all along!”  If you hide information that the reader feels entitled to, he will probably feel angry rather than satisfied when you finally reveal the truth.

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