Suspend Their Disbelief

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

Back in the mid-‘90s, I really enjoyed The Bridges of Madison County, a bestselling book at the time that resulted in a good movie as well. What’s surprising is that everything about it was stuff I normally wouldn’t like. It was a romance, and those are always cheesy to me because it’s always women authors writing about how they would like romance to be, not how it is. Interestingly, this one was written by a man, Robert James Waller. It concerned adultery, a detestable subject. And the premise was completely unrealistic—the idea that a couple could meet and only spend four days together and never see or hear of each other again and it would have such a profound effect on them every day for the rest of their lives. The fact that Waller could, in spite of those three elements, suspend my disbelief and make me like it and even remember it twenty years later, THAT’S writing. And that’s the standard to which we should rise in our own writing. If your goal is to become a bestselling author, you must strive to suspend the disbelief of not only your target audience, or your “ideal reader”, but also those who don’t think they would like your book to begin with. Sure, it’s a challenge, but if you’re like me, it’s a challenge that totally excites you. Happy writing!

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