2018 A to Z challenge

R is for Realistic

When I read a book or watch a movie, one of the things that irritate me the most are unrealistic scenarios or characters. I’m not saying plot lines, movies and books that explore the possible are some of my favorites. I love Lord of the Rings and all the Star Wars/Star Trek movies. (Yes, I am neither a Star Wars nor a Trekkie, but enjoy both. Shocking, I know.) No, it’s the impossible that annoys me. Like in the movie Wonder Woman where she leaps the gap and climbs the tower. Yes, I know that she’s a demi-goddess, but it was enough to pull me back to reality and away from the storyline.




When we read or watch a movie, we participate in something called the Willing Suspension of Disbelief.

A willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment

Word Origin: Coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Source: Dictonary.com


However, there comes a point when something is just too much for our minds to take and we are jerked harshly back to reality. So how can a writer stop from passing that line? That’s a hard question to answer. The patently ridiculous is obvious. For example, in a western, floating cyber cows that can shoot laser beams from their eyes will immediately pull us from the storyline as we shake our heads and wonder when that happened. But on the other hand, what if they have subtle chips that have GPS in case rustlers happen to take them? I would be willing to keep reading and see where this goes.

However, when you have characters, unless you have Superman, keep it within human limitations. And remember, even Superman had a weakness. Kryptonite reduced him down to human standards. What readers and viewers want are flawed heroes, people that they can relate to. Perfect characters can turn people away even faster than bad prose can.

Superman kryptonite


So what is a book or movie that you found totally impossible?

11 thoughts on “R is for Realistic”

  1. So there is this delightful dragon series called Wings of Fire — the main characters are dragons. I love the series but every once in awhile the dragons do something so…human…that it throws the suspension of disbelief off. The one that comes to mind is a dragon raising its claws and flaring its wings — like a human would “put their hands up”. When you picture a dragon doing that, well, it doesn’t come out quite right! 🙂

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  2. Too many to list here, but I do get annoyed by almost all horror genre films where the mobile phones handily lose signal, or the victims all decide it’s best to split up and search the dark house separately! That sort of thing always bugs me.

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    1. Or the always classic, trip and take way too long to get up. If I was running for my life, I would be back up in a heartbeat, no matter how many times I fell, lol

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  3. I can feel you in this as I do experience the disbelief in movies esp ghetto horror genre and science fiction. I know it’s science fiction but it gets too hard to accept the impossible as possible. There are many Indian movies too where they show the hero jumping or leaping to chase. The Chinese movies are to be counted. Although fun to watch, they don’t leave an impression on me.

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  4. I don’t know if the writer can keep from crossing the line you talk about, at least not for everyone. I think the suspension of disbelief is different for everyone. For example, my husband just can’t do any kind of science fiction (for him it is like Wonder Woman was for you) but for me I’m right there in it and loving it. Certainly something interesting to think about.


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  5. sometimes the willing suspension of belief is not enough to keep reading or watching… I want the character to be as flawed as I am but I also enjoy plausibility – I am not a super hero fan but can sit thru it with my daughter who lives vicariously thru her heros and heroines … at the moemnt my grandson at 7 is star wars mad from the movie to books to lego,. interesting how some go on generation after generation like tolkien has in our family…

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