Believability does not mean actuality. ~ Robert McKee

I just came across this interview with Robert McKee aka “Mr. Story”. Here he answers the question: Does a story always need to be believable? What makes it believable?

A: Bear in mind, however, that believability does not mean actuality.

The genres of non-realism, such as Fantasy, Sci-fi, Animation and the Musical, invent story worlds that could never actually exist. Instead, works such as THE PRINCESS BRIDE, THE MATRIX, FINDING NEMO and SOUTH PACIFIC create their own special versions of reality. No matter how bizarre some of these story worlds may be, they are internally true to themselves. Each story establishes its own one-of-a-kind rules for how things happen, its principles of time and space, of physical action and personal behavior. This is true even for works of avant-garde, postmodern ambition that deliberately call attention to the artificiality of their art. No matter what your story’s unique fictional laws may be, once you establish them, the audience/reader will freely follow your telling as if it were real – so long as your laws of action and behavior are never broken.

Continue reading HERE.

Create your story world. Destroy your story world. Do what you want with it. It’s yours, god dammit. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

One Response to “Believability does not mean actuality. ~ Robert McKee”

  1. McKee’s book really holds up!
    –Jill Dearman, author Bang the Keys (Penguin/2009)

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