Shannon Stacey

Suspension of common sense

I’m a reader/viewer who will gladly suspend belief for a good story. If I’m being entertained, there’s no microscope in my hand.

When I watch “Days of Thunder”, for instance, and he makes it through that final crash and his demons disappear and he shouts “I’m dropping the hammer” into his headset, I cheer. I don’t wait for him to get black-flagged for dropping the hammer during the caution laps that would follow that crash. It’s a good story and it would have lost something if he’d had to hang behind the pace car for 8 laps, then yell about dropping the hammer. The movie “Driven” however, drives me mad with it’s inexplicable blending of CART and Formula 1. WHY? There was no need, Stallone knows better, and the story wasn’t good enough to make me not care.

I’m reading a book right now which also asks me to suspend not only belief, but plain old common sense. And I’m not doing well at it, because the entire premise of the book revolves around this thing, and it doesn’t work. Therefore the plot doesn’t work. And because the heroine ponders it, then dismisses it like a flaming moron, I think the author was aware of it, as well, and chose not to address it because there was no book if that basic premise didn’t work.

There is very little worse than having having a suspension of common sense moment in your own book. *sigh*

I don’t do themes and all that jazz. The underlying story of my books is always about two people falling in love and riding off into the sunset together. More or less. But 72 Hours is also about the heroine coming to terms with Grace the woman and Grace the mom. She totally shoved down what she was to try to be the perfect mom, and it’s not working so well. And then it all blows up in her face, and only by embracing the woman she was can be the mom she needs to be. (There’s also dead people and guns and hot sex, so it’s not as corny as it sounds.) Balance, and all that.

So I’m running through the book in my head while cleaning yesterday, which is a most important part of my polishing process, and the heroine makes a decision that sets the stage for the next two thirds of the book. But my Mommy alarm goes off.

There is no way a mother would have made that decision. Grace the bad-ass would. Grace the mom wouldn’t. And mom trumps bad-ass. So now, 2/3 of the book follows an unmotivated decision that makes it clear the author checked her common sense at the door. And since there’s not enough time to change 2/3 of the book, I need to go back and take that decision out of her hands. It has to be the only option for her.

The good news is that my house will no doubt shine by the time I’m done obsessing through this one.

8 comments to “Suspension of common sense”

  1. Charlene
      · February 15th, 2006 at 12:03 pm · Link

    Actually, this sounds like it’ll really work to ratchet up the tension. It’s a decision she doesn’t want to make but she doesn’t have a choice so she HAS to make it work. Drive that plot!

    I found myself in a similar place. OK, the same place. But I did find an answer that works, and it makes the story stronger. I think I can even make it work with minor changes. :cheesy: Sheesh, if only we didn’t have to be logical, the things we could get away with. At least until ED got a hold of us with her :whip::whip::whip:

  2. Shannon
      · February 15th, 2006 at 12:15 pm · Link

    We need little bracelets that say “WWES”

    What Will ED Say?


  3. Charlene
      · February 15th, 2006 at 1:01 pm · Link

    I dunno, but since we said her name out loud twice, we’ll soon find out. :hide:

  4. Shannon
      · February 15th, 2006 at 1:15 pm · Link

    Maybe she’s like Beetlejuice or Candyman and you have to say it three times.


  5. AngieW
      · February 15th, 2006 at 3:42 pm · Link


  6. Jaci Burton
      · February 15th, 2006 at 3:46 pm · Link








  7. Jaci Burton
      · February 15th, 2006 at 3:47 pm · Link

    of course for a minute there i thought

    ‘oh shit she’s reading MY book’


  8. Heather Rae Scott
      · February 17th, 2006 at 2:49 am · Link

    Wonder if we’re referring to the same book. I read one this weekend that had it not been an e-book I’d have thrown it at something. I kept thinking as I read it that I should just quit while I was ahead, but noooooooooo. I had to go and finish the damned train wreck. I’d hoped it’d have gotten better, but sadly, it didn’t. It was horrid from the first page to the last one.

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