Something struck me as I was reading through feedback on my WIP over the last months.
In the text there were two things that happened that were taken pretty closely from real life. Events that were unique (maybe even offbeat), but because I knew them to be real I felt confident about weaving them into my story. That being said, neither was very likely in real life (one involved a roundabout explanation for why my MC had no driver's license, the other involved a person telling a family member that they would haunt them under certain conditions).
To me they seemed plausible, but only because in my mind they were based on real events.
In both cases I got feedback from readers that they came off as implausible, impractical, even unrealistic.
It got me to thinking about when things feel "true" in books. That essential element of storytelling that either makes you nod and read on, or roll your eyes and mutter "seriously?" It reminded me of the principle of Occam's Razor: that all other things being equal, the simplest explanation is the one you should take.
I realized through this process that even if elements came from reality, it didn't necessarily make them plausible for a reader. It was definitely one of those cool "aha" moments in writing.
So, have you experienced something similar?
How do you judge an event in your story, to ensure it feels real to the reader?
What "aha" writing moments have you had lately?