This is a great talk on the idea of wrongness. The important part for us, as writers, starts at 11:30.
“Miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is, but that you can see the world as it isn’t. We can remember the past, we can think about the future. And we can imagine what it’s like to be some other person in some other place.”
This is a remarkable idea.
Since we can get things wrong, we can produce remarkable other worlds, and times, and people. It’s what, for all intents and purposes, allows us to be writers. But she doesn’t stop there!
“As readers, we eat this stuff up. We love things like plot twists, and red herrings, and surprise endings. When it comes to our stories, we love being wrong. But you know, our stories are like this, because our lives are like this. I thought this one thing was going to happen, but something else happens instead.”
This is an important point in my mind. We can imagine the most impossible as possible, write it all down, and we can sell it, but only if the impossible is tempered by those same beats that we know as life. People know that we do things because of drive, even if they can’t express it. People know that things rarely happen like we plan. People know that even if your characters can warp reality on a whim, they’re still human.
And that’s the key to a great story, isn’t it? Using a couple lies to tell the truth.