As a writer of fiction, I have to be aware that I’m playing by the rules. That may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but it isn’t. When creating characters, settings and plot lines, they can’t be out of the realm of which I’ve created. Still not clear? Okay, imagine you are walking down the street and run into a purple badger—who can talk and dance. I, personally, have never seen a talking, dancing, purple badger, nor have I heard of one that exists.
It doesn’t make sense.
My first novel, The Hidden Sun, is medieval fiction. If at the end the hero saves the day by using the internet to access satellites in order to see where the enemy is hiding, it wouldn’t make sense. It would be unbelievable.
One of my finished, unpublished books is a different genre than what I normally write—at least at this moment in time. It deals with a fairly sensitive subject, so as I’ve shopped it around, I’ve had publishers who don’t want to touch it for that very reason.
I was recommended a publisher that deals with these types of books (note: the books isn’t anything I wouldn’t let my daughters read) and I submitted it.
I heard back from them. As often happens in publishing, the book was rejected. Why? Because the book was too “unbelievable”—the gatekeeper who read it couldn’t believe all the stuff that happens, therefore, neither would the readers.
And now, the irony: I wrote the book primarily because I believe it is a story that needs to be told. I’ve been told from other people who have heard the story that they couldn’t, or perhaps, didn’t want to believe what happened.
So, I should just change the parts that are unbelievable, right?
Nope. I refuse.
Because the story is true. I experienced the events. They really happened. To change them would mean I would have to betray who I am to myself. And if I learned nothing from the events in the story, that is something I will not do.