The Importance of Suspension of Disbelief

If we are being earnest, no pun on Oscar Wilde, the importance of suspension of disbelief cannot be overstated, not in books, movie or games or any other parts in life, even relationships, or maybe especially relationships, be it professional or personal.

If you were in a professional relationship at work and everyone just sees you for who you are and not for who you could be and esp. your manager, then you will have a hard time becoming the best version of yourself. You need to surround yourself with people who will support you for who you could be and believe in you and ignore things like “Halo” or “Horn” effects and other biases.

The crux here is that suspension of disbelief is the holy grail of “story telling”, in all walks of life. You want to be supported in who you could become and not in maintaining the status quo. You want to be writing stories that entice the reader into asking questions, wanting to find out more and finding it easy to suspend their disbelief because they feel compelled to do so.

Today’s media landscape, be it movies, series, books or games seem to have forgotten this and prioritize quantity over quality. I have reviewed some screeners lately (Netflix/Amazon) and the majority is mediocre at best.

So are most games, mobile or otherwise. In a way, that’s OK. We need the crap so that the jewels can shine. It’s just… do we really need that much crap?

Maybe anyone who is even marginally interesting in any creative process, should read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tree and Leaf or any other work on Suspension of Disbelief, I just found this one most applicable to the concept of creating compelling stories in general and as such can recommend it. This and Aristotle’s Poetika, since it deals with art and mimesis. And since the number thou shalt count is three, as any good Monty Python fan will know, not 4, not 5, the third work I shall “throw” at you is Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.

Now, I am not saying you have to read these before you can write, because you don’t have to read these at all ever and just be fine or even stellar, there are some people like that. It may be interesting though, to read them. If you decide to do so, let me know what you think. If you have read them, also let me know what you think. Either way, agree, disagree, suspend your disbelief and give it a try!


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