Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I've been thinking a lot recently about how far out there you can go with your story before people start shaking their heads and snorting "Preposterous!"

I think it's a lot further than we generally believe.

And what am I basing this on?  Well, I've seen two films this year based on stories by a well known Norwegian writer, Jo Nesbo.  Both film have been impeccably plotted and paced.  In fact, the first one I saw (Headhunters) had me seething with envy over how neatly everything was wrapped up.  There was a point where I thought the film was finished, and I was satisfied, but they went that extra step to wrap up every single little thread which utterly delighted me (if you haven't seen it, rush out and find it now.  You won't regret it.)

But...  When I was reviewing the film, I realized that while I'd been totally swept along by it while I was watching, on reflection, many of the plot points were utterly implausible.  In fact, the whole story was as mad as a box of badgers.  But I didn't care.

The second film (Jackpot) is probably even madder, but just as much fun to go along for the ride.

I think it has to do with internal logic.  If what you're putting up there makes sense within the world of the story, people can overlook the implausibilities.  And this comes down to the characters and making sure they act and react in ways that are realistic to them.  As soon as a character does something that's unrealistic for her, the audience takes note and that suspension of disbelief is strained, or broken.

What do you think?  And have you seen either of these films?


  1. No, I haven't seen either films yet. I think when there's room for a reader to disengage in any story, the author needs to work on establishing vivid and yes, logical details in the world building, as well as creating realistic responses from characters to this world.

  2. I believe as long as the characters stay true, you can take it as far as you want. I am very curious about the films you mentioned. I will have to check them out now :)

  3. I haven't seen either. Interesting though.

  4. I haven't seen either movie.

    With most books and movies, I like that they wrap up nicely. That the questions are answered. What gets me though is the coincidences. When too many happen, then I start to question its believability.

  5. I haven't seen either film but I totally agree with this thought process. I'm a huge sci-fi/ comic book geek and if you can convince my brain it works in your world, I'll buy it.

  6. "...mad as a box of badgers." LOL! :-)

    Haven't seen either of these, but I agree that a well told story, no matter how implausible, is still a well told story, which the average Jane and Joe aren't likely to resist.
    Some Dark Romantic