Sometimes, our ideas carry us away. That’s why we do this, right?
But other times, we let doubt get in the way.
When writing fantasy and science fiction, we question whether or not we can expect people to believe something, whether it’s realistic. All these strange and fantastical things in our heads just seem too big, too different.
But it’s fantasy. It’s science fiction.
Anything can be realistic if you make the world support it.
And honestly, there are some truly weird things in our world that people don’t question, or maybe barely question. (Vulture bees making honey from meat. People keeping the baby teeth of their children.)
Anything can be realistic for a fictional world if you shape the world to make it work. The history of these fictional worlds can support any tradition. The evolution of these worlds can produce any species we want.
The believability of an idea isn’t the problem.
The real problem is deeper.
We question ourselves and our ability to pull these things off.
We’re making up entire worlds, entire people, entire timelines. We’re doing things that are truly amazing.
A planet with rivers that flow up into the air may as well happen. Maybe it’s a hollow planet, and those rivers are inside it? Maybe there’s a gravitational anomaly caused by a malfunction in a lab? Who knows? You just have to put in the time and the effort to explain it. And then stand by it.
What we’re doing is meant to be fun, but that doesn’t always mean it’ll be easy.
And sometimes, we’re the ones making it harder for ourselves. We doubt our ideas at every turn, cutting ourselves off at the knees.
Stop worrying about whether it’s realistic to have an animal the size of a whale fly through the sky. In our world, no. But in your world? In the world you’re building?
Go for it.
Give it some sort of mechanical support or engine. Enhance it with magic.
Make it work.
That thing you have in your head that you’re doubting might be the thing that a reader loves the most about your book.
Just build the supports for it into the framework of the world and have a little faith in yourself.
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