Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Verisimilitude In Fiction

Basic to all good fiction is the ability of the story to bring the reader into a world that is believable.  Verisimilitude is what we as writers strive for, the ability to represent a plausible reality.  In order to suspend disbelief during a story it has to resemble the sensibilities of life to the point that it is believable.

Verisimilitude-1. the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability: The play lacked verisimilitude.   2. something, as an assertion, having merely the appearance of truth.

Anne Lamott in her work, Architect of a Novel said, "Realism and plausibility are especially important ingredients in getting your reader to engage with the story and to believe what you like them to believe." 

As writers we use detail, dialogue, knowledge of our audience and gesture. Are there other conventions we use? 

What techniques do you use to achieve verisimilitude?
How important do you think it is? Or is it?

Here are some great links for more on verisimilitude:
Make it a Good Lie


  1. I've never heard of that word before. You learn something new everyday, right? Body language is another convention. I pay attention to the teens I work with or the ones in my family (since I write for teens). That's how my writing gets its semblance of truth.

  2. I like to get into my characters heads and truly understand them. Understand how they would act and what they would say. How they would interact with other people and their environment.

  3. @Rae I also work in the schools and my observations are a big part of my writing.

    @Josh What's your process of getting into the heads of your characters? Everyone seems to find their own way to do that.


I would love to hear from you!

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