I've had to tell my share of really stupid stories. Another round of the Viki/Niki story on One Life To Live comes immediately to mind. But yesterday I read something so over the top that I'm still shaking my head in wonderment.
Readers know (except for the drunk trolls) that when they open a novel, it's a fiction. The audience has been conditioned from an early age to understand that there is a difference between real life and fiction. 6 year olds don't go to first grade believing there are skittle pooping unicorns. We suspend our disbelief to some degree. We accept "Expelliarmus!" will disarm a fellow wizard. (Altho no one has yet been able to explain the aerodynamics of flying a broom ie how do you make it go faster. I get that it's like riding a motorcycle and if you lean it turns, but how do you stop it. By pulling on the reins? Don't if you pull back it gains altitude? Yeah, it's magic. Yeah.)
The reason why the world of Potter works is because we know we're in an alternate world. It's close to the real world but it's not.
The more explicit the real world of the novel is, the harder it will be to pull off a really WAY over the top piece of storytelling.
When those Airport movies were so popular, this was before I got my pilot's license, I knew some commercial airline pilots. I asked if it was possible for that crossed-eyed girl to actually fly that jet she was supposed to be managing. The consensus was she could probably turn it, that was about it. But the audience managed to go along with it because we knew it was just entertainment and we knew Charlton Heston was on the way.
What we're not going to believe is the stewardess getting into the cockpit of an F-35 Raptor, have a dogfight with an enemy squadron flaming them all out and making a beautiful landing at Boston Logan Airport, missing all the commercial traffic arriving and departing, because she ran out of fuel and had to dead-stick it in.
The is sort of the equivalent of what I read yesterday. And I don't know what to make of it. Did the author really think we would believe it? Granted I'm not the target audience, so maybe they did. Maybe it was whoops and fists pumping in the air. Way to go! Was it a case of just not knowing what to do? The author was out of ideas and this is the only way to get out of the corner that s/he had been written into?
I find it dismaying. I find it a strange and unsettling choice.