Recently, I visited my local Speed Art Museum and enjoyed the exhibit Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper. She folded and molded Japanese paper into the shapes and folds of dresses and clothing of historical figures. Upon this paper, she painted intricate details of texture, patterns and created the illusion of actual cloth, actual dresses.
When I walked into the exhibit, I squinted my eyes at the first sculpture of paper and paint I saw, an interpretation of a dress worn by Queen Elizabeth (see photo above). De Borchgrave measured and folded paper to give shape to the dress. She painted details on the paper to create the fantasy of textile. Until I got as close as I could to the “dress”, I had a difficult time not seeing cloth.
In art, creating an illusion with paint is called trompe l’œil.
Trompe l’œil – a style of painting in which objects are depicted with photographically realistic detailMerriam-Webster.com Dictionary
Writing fiction is like creating those dresses. The writer is creating the illusion of reality. The reader knows it is a story, but she suspends her disbelief in order to enjoy the story.
Much in the same way De Borchgrave created the illusion of dresses, coats and pants, the writer’s goal is to create the illusion of reality. To suspend the reader’s belief.
But, instead of paper and paint the writer uses word choice, dialogue and action. Folded in a certain way, these fictional elements can carry a reader into other worlds.
Here are some articles on writing I’ve come across lately: