Friday, February 11, 2011

Crazy, isn't it?

(Scroll down for the Follower Love Giveaway)

Contrary to belief, not everything has to be explainable in fiction. I know, shocking right?

Real life: I live in Wyoming. Let me break down the weather for you in the past week.
  • Four days ago: It snowed about five inches. It was cold and miserable and windy.
  • Three days ago: It was slightly warmer. That kind of warm where your car is pretty toasty when you get in it so you don't feel like you're going to die of the cold. It was a decent day.
  • Two days ago: It was a mediocre day in between the two before. Not too cold, not that warm. That is until I got out of a movie at about 6 p.m. and it was so freaking cold I spent about 10 seconds outside before I was dying of cold. Like I was shivering and my nose was instantly frozen and I had to stand outside to get gas and it sucked so bad all I wanted to do was climb under 50 blankets and sleep.
  • Yesterday: It was warm. Not like, 60 degrees warm, but warm enough that I had to strip off my coat and go with a sweatshirt because I was too hot.
Weather is a fickle thing. And this doesn't happen just in Wyoming, because I grew up in Montana and my best friend lives in Idaho. We all have this saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." It's true. It has happened. And it happens IN REAL LIFE!

No it doesn't make any sense really (at least to most people who are not meteorologists, like me). But weird and crazy things happen IN REAL LIFE all the time! People do things they wouldn't ever do in riots because they get swept up in what other people are doing and it seems like the thing to do in the moment. People make stupid mistakes all the time that they know they shouldn't, they give people second chances they know don't deserve it, and the fall in love with people that are terrible for them. But also, weather is crazy, sometimes even when things are planned the best that they can be, things go wrong for no real reason, and YES! the equipment will fail when it never has before and never should. That's REAL LIFE!

I'm sorry for all the yelling, but it's something that I'm not only trying to convince you about, but myself. I'm one of the people that think there needs to be reasons for everything in fiction. Why did that happen? It's one of those questions that I am driven to find out. And while yes, fiction isn't exactly like real life because if it were it would either be so depressing or boring that no one would read it, fiction can emulate real life in this way. Not everything has to be explained to the littlest detail. Because most of it, people will go along with it anyway. (Most people. I'm not talking about all those nit-picky people, because no matter how hard you try, you're not going to please them fully anyway so stop trying.)

And there's even a term for it! It's called "willing suspension of disbelief" where people ignore logic and accept that the fiction you bring to them is real and magic and vampires exist or that it's really 2099 and we've destroyed the moon. We go with it, because you, the writer, tell us to. And while there are some rules I say that you can not let yourself break (like no matter how hard you try, there will always be gravity on Earth because of its mass) there are little things that you don't need to spend so much time on. Because people might not care that you spent three days writing this long expansive explanation about why that would happen. It doesn't matter.

Crazy things happen in real life without any explanation at all. Why should fiction be different in this way?

What do you guys think about crazy real life stuff? What's the craziest thing you've ever seen?


Stephanie said...

I think this is a great thing to remind ourselves of. Diana Peterfreund, the author of Rampant wrote a blog post about how every author starts a book with 100 crazy points, but if you use up those points, your reader stops believing you and your book. She said that just with the premise of Rampant alone--killer unicorns--she loses about 50 points right away, so for the rest of the book, she had to be careful to write more realistically; she couldn't throw in lizard men and spaceships and talking goats, otherwise the reader would stop believing. I loved that advice!

Annerb said...


That is fantastic rule of thumb to go by! I am going to steal this and use it for myself. Because it is that awesome. Thanks so much for sharing!

Sarah Robertson said...

Haha, your post is a thousand times better than mine! Kudos. *lol* I'm a bit obsessive about making things in a story make sense. But these are usually things characters are doing and such . . . they need to work!

kjovus - my life with books said...

Your post made me giggle....Wyaoming weather is INSANE as is Utah weather. And BTW I think MORE crazy stuff happens in real life than normal stuff. Maybe that makes the normal stuff the crazy stuff? Who knows. LOL

Annerb said...

@Sarah - Indeed. But even characters don't go for logic all the time. :D

@kjovus - Yes! Got to love crazy weather! And I think's that's a pretty good assumption.

Glenda Cates said...

OK Crazy Weather try Texas I am in Fort Worth where it is supposed to not snow and not be cold. Yeah right one day its snowing and 16 degrees and the next is 50 and then we hit the weekend and it is 80. No wonder we do not know how to dress. Fiction needs to come to Texas for a while as we can show it a thing or two.

Anonymous said...

The craziest thing that has happened to me is that this winter i just didnt get out of bed, literally! And i mean i had enough reason to because everything was cold and i was freezing in my bed as well.

Chloe Booklover said...


The craziest thing that's happened to me recently... I became psychic. No, really, I did. We were having a school spelling bee and I had qualified to go to it. The bee was in the afternoon, and I was panicking all day. Suddenly, I got this feeling that I HAD to know how to spell "effervescent". I frantically searched around for the spelling, and eventually my teacher told me how to spell it. Well, I get up to the spelling bee... The guy in front of me has to get an extra word because the pronouncer pronounced it wrong. His second word should have been my word - biscotti (which I would have gotten wrong :0) Then, I get up to the stand, and my word is... EFFERVESCENT! No joke! Unfortunately, I had a complete spaz with everyone looking at me, and I spelled it with a V instead of two Fs. Oh well, at least I found out I was psychic!

PS, in the paragraph that starts with Sorry for all the yelling - you really sound like Lauren Myracle in that one. She is one of my fav authors. You should check out her books!

Patty said...

So true! I think if you show what is crazy or illogical in a convincing or compelling way, your reader will follow you. It's the job of the writer to make the unreal more real than reality ---

Sarah Robertson said...


I should re-phrase this. Not necessarily logical according to logic, but logical according to their characterizations too!

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