This week on the Story Works Round Table, Alida, Kathryn, and Robert discuss plausibility. How can we keep our stories plausible in the reader’s eyes when we’re crafting a world full of the improbable? From cozy mysteries where half the village dies and the dog holds the key to solving the case to hard science fiction where the story world’s facts are beyond the scope of our known world, it’s our job as writers as make it all believable.




How do you craft a story where readers buy the implausible? Does every genre have to deal with this issue? What tools can you use in your character, plot, and world-building to keep your reader engaged in the story? When do your genre conventions help your plausibility? And when can they hurt it?

What we talked about:

How do we craft a story where readers still buy in to the improbable things we throw at them? (0:50)

The importance of the opening chapters. (2:50)

The help of genre conventions! (3:45)

Remember the skills you have given your protagonist. (5:15)

What about other genre’s? (6:50)

When can you count on suspension of disbelief? And how can you respect that? (8:35)

Set your reader’s expectations early. (9:40)

Utilize your character development. (14:42)

What about plausibility in the world-building? (16:10)

How can your own rules create plausibility issues? (18:20)

What are some final issues with plausibility? (21:02)


Things we mentioned:

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
Jack Reacher by Lee Child 
Sherlock Holmes 
Codex Alera by Jim Butcher 

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 008 Making the Unfamiliar Familiar
SWRT 104 Guiding Your Reader with Narrative
SWRT 108 Put ‘Em Up

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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