Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Believe you me...

I had this terrifying dream the other night. I was back doing my psychiatric nursing job—a profession I’ve not practiced for decades. I was working on the Forensic Unit, where the criminally insane resided.

 Hypnosis : Image of a hypnotist brainwashing the viewer into a deep subconscious subliminal trance using secret mind control tactics. Stock Photo

We had a Hannibal Lector-type patient, a violent, murderous man—with a twist. He did not actually do the torturing and murder.  Rather, both he and his dog had the ability to hypnotise people into doing their works of horror for them. If you gazed into either of their eyes, you became the guy's servant.

I along with all the other nursing staff were trying desperately to avoid looking into their eyes, a very difficult feat—if you’ve ever tried NOT to look at something. About this point in the dream I thought, “This doesn’t make sense. A hospital would not let a patient keep a dog on the ward…especially a dangerous dog.”

Hypnosis : Abstract mystic psychedelic Galaxy night background with stars and woman opened eye

Of all the things about this scenario, the dog on the hospital ward was the only thing that struck me as odd. 

The dream continued until the head nurse said to one of my colleagues, “Please go to the isolation ward, Isabelle. You’ve been contaminated!” (Meaning, I surmised, that Isabelle had fallen victim to the evil patient’s powers.)

I held my breath, full of dread and distrust. Was it really Isabelle who’d been contaminated or was it the head nurse? And would Isabelle obey, and if not, what horror was about to happen?
THE TRAZ School Edition Kindle eBook
FREE 26th, 27th June 2012
After that, only $2.99

 Here is the link to download it: http://ow.ly/auLeO

I woke up and groggily made my way to the washroom, muttering in my mind about the silliness of the dream—a hospital would never allow a dog on the ward.

In the morning, I found the dream intriguing. It could indeed be the basis of a horror story.  But, that dog would definitely have to go. 

Suspension of disbelief…Why is it my mind would accept the far out scenario of powerful evil transferring from person-to-person or dog-to-person via eye contact, yet could not get past the rather simple out-of-place idea that a patient would keep his dog in the hospital?

They say it is called “the suspension of disbelief”. It is what authors must do via their magic use of words to get the reader to accept the story and connect with the characters and action. Even in fiction, in fantasy, in romance—in all genres, an author must convince the reader to accept the circumstances, woo the reader, lure the reader into the story.

stock photo : Close up on blue eyes of a dog 

This magic is difficult to define. In my debut novel, THE TRAZ, an action adventure crime novel, I had editors and beta readers complain about the tender age of Katrina, my protagonist, (she is 13 throughout most of the story), despite the fact children much younger than her are often recruited by criminal gangs to do their dirty work. I had readers complain that Katrina would not have received her parents’ life-insurance payout until the estate was settled, when in fact, many policies pay out immediately upon receipt of the death certificate. Some readers doubted a bank would allow a minor to open a bank account, and doubted that even if they did, the minor’s parents or guardians wouldn’t have access the account. (It was all researched and is possible and realistic.)

Yet the one implausible thing in the novel, the one clear-cut obviously impossible, totally unrealistic circumstance was never criticized. And…what was that?

The fact a cop infiltrated a biker gang. That has never been known to happen. Is not likely to ever happen. Would certainly not have happened in the era that THE TRAZ took place.

So, what is it that makes a possible thing seem impossible and the impossible, plausible? What is it that destroys the mood for the reader? How is it that we can enjoy vampires, space travel, and shrinking the kids but can’t tolerate a dog living in the hospital with his master?

I don't know the answer. If you have any ideas, observations, or suggestions about this matter, leave your comment below and be automatically entered to win a Kindle.

p.s. one editor said I ought to check records to ensure there actually was a full moon on the date mentioned. I didn’t, but please feel free.
THE TRAZ School Edition Kindle eBook
FREE 26th, 27th June 2012
Only $2.99 thereafter


Eileen Schuh, Canadian writer


Unknown said...

Eileen, I find it intriguing that it never occurred to you that all of you had become subject to the criminal's hypnosis which could have led to the very 'real' experience of the dog. Could the criminal and the dog be the same person with different projections of a schizophrenic mind? Perhaps you stumbled upon the first case of a schizophrenic that was criminal in all personalities?

Eileen Schuh: said...

Oh, wow, Rick. I like how you think. Gives me the shivers. This story is becoming more terrifying than the dream! Thanks for your comment. I've entered your name in my draw for a Kindle.