Monday, February 22, 2010

Are you an angry reader?

As a reader, how willing are you to suspend your disbelief? If you read a vampire novel, is it ruined because vampires don't really exist? If the book is set on an imaginary planet, do you find yourself pulled out of the story by a blue sun or pink grass? I'm guessing most of you would answer no to this.

Books are an escape, romances/fantasy/sci-fi especially, however the contemporary and historical romance genres don't seem to get cut as much slack as the paranormals do. It seems readers fully expect the paranormal worlds to be unreal and the historical and contemporary ones to be as genuine as possible.
Why is that?

To be honest, as a reader, I'm okay with some altered facts. I'm not reading a history book when I read a Victorian romance, I'm reading for entertainment. If I read a contemporary that features a small, quaint town, I'm perfectly accepting that such a place still exists in this world. Hollywood gets away with it all day and night, why not books? Are you one of those readers who gets bunched up by such things or are you capable of taking a story at its entertainment value?


  1. That's such an interesting question! I think my answer is that what I ask is that a book be consistent to its own world. The best paranormals work, no matter how outlandish the details, because the author establishes the rules of her world clearly and then sticks by them. If a contemp or historical does the same, I'm totally good.

  2. Louisa is right. I can accept anything as long as the details are consistent through the story. I don't read historical romance for facts. However, in Susan Johnson's early historicals, she footnoted where she got a certain fact or detail as it pertained to the story (and many of these were related to the sexual practices) I LOVED those footnotes. Seriously. I got as much enjoyment out of those as I have some books! How fun to read about real events and practices.

    In paranormals and urban fantasies, pink grass and green skies are just fine with me. I can accept ANYTHING in that genre.

  3. The only thing that matters to me is that the characters are convinced. If they believe there are vampires/wizards/flying dragons, then I will believe it, but if the characters question it, so will I.

    And I agree with Louisa that the author has to stick to their own rules. I'm pretty picky when it comes to inconsistencies. If you tell me there are no modern technologies in the Land of X, I'd better not find out you've made an exception!

  4. I don't get too caught up in practicality. I think the idea of a literary license is great.

    Love that grumpy cat!

  5. I like to get lost in a story so I don't get too bunched up over the details with the exception of...things I have a lot of knowledge of. Like firefighting. I read a book by an author I love about firefighters (specifically the organization my father worked for for years) and the details were so extremely wrong I couldn't finish it. All it would've taken was a phone call on the author's part to get the details right.

    Oh well...

    Otherwise, I can lose myself in the story. Really I can. :)

  6. I guess I have some trouble suspending reality. Part of my problem is I pick up a series in the middle, when all the world building is established. But if there's a MC who's discovering the new world with me, sort of guiding me? Then I'm okay.

  7. I care not if reality is suspended. I am being entertained, and who knows what we will learn next week.

  8. I agree with Holly. As long as the characters are convinced and draw me in the rest does not matter. Great authors are like Calgon...They take me away.

  9. I'm okay with things like pink grass or whatever, if they're part of the world, have a purpose and are consistent. That's the mark of a really good world-builder.