Hello and welcome to a guest post all about believability in writing. Followed by an excerpt from Susan Leigh Noble’s new release, Blood Bond.
Believability: An essential ingredient to your story
As you watch a gun fight during an action movie, both sides shoot and shoot and shoot some more. And while you are engrossed in the action, somewhere in the back of your mind, you wonder, “Shouldn’t they run out of bullets or at least need to reload?”
Just like watching that action scene momentarily jars you out of the movie, many things in your novel can have the same effect on your reader. I know that we are writing fiction, and anything can happen, but there still needs to be a level of believability.
If your story takes place on Earth, there are certain things that people will take for granted – gravity, geography, travel time, etc. Readers may have knowledge of the professions of your characters or the locations of their travel. If you don’t know this information, you may inadvertently have something happen that jars the reader out of the story.
The answer to this is to do research. You can talk with a fireman, visit a court trial, take a trip to New York City, or if you can’t do that, you can do research on the Internet. This research can add little details to your scenes that ring of authenticity and will draw your reader into the story.
If your story has elements of science fiction and fantasy, you may be dealing with the impossible. But there are still ways to make your story believable. For one, your characters need to believe their world is real. If dragons exist or there is technology to beam someone down to a planet from a space ship, it shouldn’t come as a shock to the characters.
Magic use to be prevalent only in fantasy novels but more and more, magic shows up in other genres, including romance and suspense. Magic can certainly enhance a story, but you need to make sure it is believable. If you make magic the answer to everything, there will be no conflict in your story. Instead, you need to define (at least for yourself) what can and cannot be done with magic and then stick to those rules.
Being consistent with your details, whether they are about magic or the setting, can allow your reader to be immersed in your make-believe world, and you won’t jar your reader out of the story with something as ridiculous as a gun that never runs out of bullets.
Thanks for the great advice, Susan. She regulary shares advice and writing tips on her blog Into Another World. So please pop over and have a look once you’ve checked out the book excerpt below of course.
Susan’s new book, Blood Bond, was released on 6th February 2018. You can pick up a copy here.
Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.
Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon that saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s blood mixes with his blood creating a mythical blood bond – forever linking them.
As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.
Blood Bond Book Excerpt
Soren scrambled to his feet as the golden dragon, Rakkah, landed near him. For a moment, they stared at each other.
“You shouldn’t be bonded to Reddex.” Her voice reverberated within his head as she flicked her tail.
“It wasn’t by choice,” he said, speaking directly into her mind.
He didn’t like the feeling of being trapped with the tree behind his back and stepped away from it. He carefully kept Rakkah in front of him as he moved.
“That matters not.” She walked around him. “Definitely not worthy to be a dragon rider.”
Pride had him lifting his chin. “Maybe not but Dex said I was the one to help bridge man and dragon.”
“Is that what he told you? Did he tell you about the others?” She studied him, before chuckling. “I can tell by the look on your face, he didn’t. You weren’t the first one he approached you know. There were others. He settled for you.”
Soren shook his head. “No that isn’t true. He said he had a feeling I was the one.”
“A smooth line if I ever heard one. I’ll let you in on something. If he said that, it was him manipulating you. There were others who turned him down. He was under time pressure, so he settled for you. And it is only by accident he is now linked to you. I am sure he would rather not be. I know I would.” She flicked her tail. “Take Warnox up on his offer. It will be better for everyone.”
He shook his head. “I don’t…”
Before he could continue, Rakkah’s words sunk in and his bewilderment turned to anger. His heart pounded, and his shoulders shook. And then Dex was there. The red dragon faced Rakkah, slashing his own tail. Soren couldn’t hear anything but was sure words were exchanged between the two as they circled each other, their eyes locked. Suddenly, Rakkah leapt into the air and flew back to the other dragons. Dex turned to Soren.
“I don’t know what Rakkah said to you, but I could feel your confusion…and your anger.”
“Tell me the truth,” he said, his fists clinched. “Was I your first choice?”
“My first choice? Choice for what?”
“To help you approach the King.”
Dex stared at him for a moment before looking down. “You weren’t the first I approached, but Soren…”
He didn’t wait to hear any more. Soren walked over to Warnox. With each step, his anger grew. He could still hear Rakkah’s taunting voice. She had been right. He wasn’t Dex’s first choice. He had lied to him about being the one the dragons needed. He shook his head as if to clear the thoughts away. But they persisted, and he quickly covered the distance to the other dragons and to his freedom.
“Take me back to Ballinger,” he said to Warnox.
The brown dragon regarded him for a moment. “You can ride on Barth. Mount up. It is time to go.”
Soren briefly recoiled at the thought of riding without a harness but reassured himself it would only be a short distance. Barth bent down, and he scrambled onto his back.
“Soren?” Dex asked, his voice cautious.
He didn’t respond or even look at Dex as Barth took off, following the other dragons into the air. He grabbed for the harness before realizing it wasn’t there. His hands searched for something to hold on to but found nothing. As Barth leveled out, Soren resisted the urge to look at the ground far below.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” Barth asked.
Soren hesitated. “Yes. It is for the best. I am not meant to be a dragon rider.”
“Can you sense Reddex from here?”
Soren felt unsettled but couldn’t determine if it was his own feeling or if it came from Dex too. As he concentrated, he could feel Dex’s anxiety.
“He is worried,” he admitted reluctantly.
“You shouldn’t be able to connect with him at this distance. He told me how far apart you two have been when you have communicated. It is farther than any other linked pair.”
Soren watched Warnox and the other dragons disappear before his eyes, Blinking back to the City of Ballinger. He knew Barth would follow suit in a moment and felt a twinge of regret.
“You shouldn’t be doing this,” Barth said.
Suddenly, he dove toward the ground, flipping over in the air. Soren’s fingers tried to grasp onto Barth’s back but there was nothing to hold. He fell through the air. He saw Barth above him and then nothing but the blue sky as Barth Blinked.
Finally here’s a little more about the author, Susan Leigh Noble…
Susan Noble has always loved dragons and magic, so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also had to throw in a telepathic cat to the mix in her The Elemental trilogy. In addition to her trilogy, she has published The Search, a short story prequel to the trilogy and The Heir to Alexandria, a full-length standalone fantasy adventure. Her latest fantasy, Blood Bond, was released February 6, 2018.
When she isn’t writing, Susan is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and at her children’s schools. She lives with her husband, two children, three cats and two Cocker Spaniels in Texas.