A critical part to any story is convincing the reader to suspend their disbelief and accept the truth of the story.
Flying monkey? Sure thing because the Wicked Witch of the West couldn’t exactly attack Dorothy and Toto without them.
A house made of candy? Why not? What else would convince a pair of siblings to go into a deep dark forest.
A publishing company paying a free lancer for an idea? <insert skidding car sound here>
Hold up. Do publishing companies really do that sort of thing?
According to the season premiere of Suits, a series on USA, they do. I am a huge fan of the show. I love how arrogant, right and authoritative the characters are, even the weaselly wimpy ones. (Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of most of the USA line up: Burn Notice, Psych, Covert Affairs, Necessary Roughness and White Collar have filled the DVR to the brim. I only cheat on USA to get a TNT Leverage fix.)
My husband didn’t think twice about the concept so I chalked it up to my sense of the business and threw in the figurative towel. After all, it didn’t change the characters and that’s what I love about the show.
And yet, a small part of me wishes that they hadn’t done it. It was jarring and tossed me back into reality. It can happen to writers too. I remember the first time someone gave me a crit with a comment in it to the effect of “couldn’t believe that this would happen.” I’m sure it was upsetting, and yet, it was valid feedback from that reader.
Now, as a slightly more mature writer, I ask crit readers to put a star next to anything that jars them out of the story. I’m sure I stole the idea from somewhere.
Just don’t sue me.