Monday, August 15, 2011
The Importance of the Plausibility Factor
When I enjoy a movie I have a high tolerance for the flaws. The more flaws I see, however, the faster I lose my willingness to suspend my disbelief. For example, I had trouble believing that a mere scientist could win a hand-to-hand combat fight with a military trained man. Could I forgive that? Sure, why not. I enjoyed the excitement, but I’d become a little wary. What else was the movie going to ask me to believe?
Then the implausible moments started piling up. I didn’t even need to look for them to find them. The movie included massive whoppers like the bad guy needing to carry around a code for a simple four word password when he’d already proven he had an amazing memory. Or the grand finale which could have been taken care of with a simple anonymous phone call, but our hero had to throw himself into the action instead. Yeah, right.
When we write our stories we must be careful not to fall into the trap of using plot contrivances. Otherwise we may lose our readers. We need to do the research required to get it right. We also need to make sure our characters have no choice but to take the difficult route to get out of a situation.
How do you keep your stories plausible? What are some bad plot contrivances you’ve seen in a movie or read in a book?