Stories are supposed to suspend disbelief. I’ve seen figure skaters leap into the air, twirl around multiple times while filing their tax returns, and stick the landing. (Extra points are awarded for itemizing your deductions). I find it hard to believe that this is physically possible, since I get dizzy when I stand up after a Dirty Jobs marathon. If reality is so hard to swallow, what’s left for the storyteller?
Anyone can write, but it takes a gifted storyteller to spark the reader’s imagination and convince him that a pig’s breath smells like onion and lemon drops. Of course, that particular imagery is a bit trite and overused, especially in romance novels and poetry. There are some fantasies that can’t be sold to the average reader. Nobody’s going to believe you if you write about a Republican presidential candidate who doesn’t suck.
It’s my privilege to know some amazing storytellers. If you haven’t visited Terri Sonoda’s website, you’re missing a real treat. She’s currently writing a serial story called Sara’s Sleep that is just phenomenal. In a few paragraphs, she can conjure up characters and images that will super glue themselves to your brain cells.
If you like Sci-fi, I’d recommend Mike Saxton’s 7 Scorpions. For a fascinating romantic suspense story that combines science and spirituality, look for Norma Beishir’s Chasing the Wind. For action, adventure, political intrigue, and “the very bad thing,” stay tuned for the release of William Kendall’s book, Heaven and Hell.
I have to admit that I use props when I write. I have a tool kit filled with rock collecting gear, and a geological map of South Carolina. I’ve called coroners, visited police stations and correctional institutions, crawled around on old-time sailing ships, and done a science experiment that involved dry ice and a can of tuna. Don’t ask. The point is, I don’t just want to make the story believable—I want to believe it myself.
I will never do a triple salchow (pronounced “sow cow,” because skaters like to mess with your minds), but I appreciate the beauty and athleticism. As a writer, I’m so impressed with people who can take stories rattling around in their heads and create inspiration, emotion, and escape. Now if they could only file their taxes at the same time, and stick the landing, I would give them extra points.