Suspension of Disbelief
Jessica B. Bell
How much are you willing to accept? How far does your imagination stretch before it breaks? I think it can be agreed by all here that if you are reading or watching horror, there is always a certain amount of suspension of disbelief involved in enjoying the story. And I’m not just talking about the obvious things – no, there are no werewolves, bullets will kill people and they will stay dead, vampires aren’t real (but if they were they wouldn’t sparkle) and there is nothing really living under your bed – but creating something fantastic and yet asking your audience believe it.
However, sometimes, a writer will put a strain on that suspension, or else, demand a bit more elasticity from a reader – and that’s okay. No one reads horror because they want it to be realistic. But there’s a balance you have to maintain, and that really depends on the audience. For some, being asked to accept certain stretches can be insulting, and can ruin the story for them. For others, it might not be such a problem. You’re never going to make everyone happy. In order to be a successful story, the writer has to establish the rules for whatever world they create. If those rules include people that can fly, or the power of absolute denial when it comes to what a person may or may not have done while they thought they were sleeping, then these things need to be understood by the reader immediately, rather than just showing up in the story as a deus ex machine later on. If the writer does a convincing enough job, then the reader should have no objection to
being handed a big load of fiction to swallow.
A lot of my stories push the envelope, sometimes even bordering on satire, so that when I stretch credulity, it’s quite obvious. I leave stretchmarks. Sometimes that means you’re going to roll your eyes, or even laugh, but that’s fine. I hope you do laugh when you read one of these types of stories.
Sometimes, a story is not just a story. Sometimes it’s more than just a story, and so, it’s not the accuracy of the details that are important. Maybe the story is trying to say something, and the existence of an unreliable narrator is necessary to make the point. Maybe some impossible act is symbolic. Perhaps a nice tidy ending is not what the story is all about. Maybe it’s more of a parable. Then again, maybe it’s just a story where a lot of messed-up, impossible shit happens.
In the eponymous story from Viscera (published by Sirens Call Publications and available now) the reader is taken on a horrific journey into dark and twisted revenge, and asked to believe a number of impossible things. It’s a story about madness and depravity; violence and loathing. It’s also a story about sexual politics and self-image, but at its
heart – its bare and bleeding heart – it’s a horror story that will make you cringe.
Viscera — Jessica B. Bell
Viscera is a collection of short stories full of all the things that make you squirm, cringe, and laugh when you know you shouldn’t. You’ll remember why you’re afraid of the dark and experience an abundance of weird creatures: witches, ancient gods, and all-too-human monsters – the scariest of all.
Indulge your twisted sense of humor with stories about unconventional werewolves and a woman with a frog fetish. Know what it’s like to arrive too late to save an unusual alien abductee, or giggle with sick delight as a woman serves up a special Hasenpfeffer dinner to her pig of a husband.
Settle in for bedtime stories fit for monsters.
Viscera will grab you by the gut and squeeze, making you cry for mercy—or laugh like a fiend!
Jessica B. Bell is a Canadian writer of strange fiction. It is rumoured that she lives in a damp, dark basement, writing her twisted tales in her own blood on faded yellow parchment. Her stories have been published in various anthologies, the most recent of which is Voices. She also writes under the name Helena Hann-Basquiat, and has published two novels on the metafictional topic of Jessica B. Bell, titled Jessica and Singularity. A third and final novel is planned for 2017.
Find more of Jessica’s (and Helena’s) writing at whoisjessica.com.
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