Oh no! It can't be true.
No, it's not. But it's our job as authors to convince you of it.
The Big Lie is the part in a story which isn't real. Usually in speculative fiction, it's the focus of the story. This could be the magic your urban fantasy wizard is using or the gorgeous vampires that rule the world in your paranormal romance. Whether this untruth be subtle or glaringly obvious, the readers must be made to believe it.
So how to sell your Big Lie? Here are five tips to help you make it believable:
1) Establish rules for your world and don't stray from them. If there's magic in your world, make certain every character is subject to the same precepts. One violation and your Big Lie will crumble.
2) Weave the Big Lie in with familiar truths. Have your spaceship pilot brew coffee for himself and his alien navigator before attempting to fix the warp drive.
3) Whether the characters believe there are monsters in the closets or not, you must make the reader believe. Give the characters logical reactions and emotions. If the readers can connect to one or more of the characters, you will convince them of the Big Lie.
4) You don't have to lay bare all the mysteries of the Big Lie. What you do reveal must be consistent with the rules, though.
5) Be certain the ending doesn't ruin all the work you did to sell the Big Lie. Please, please don't be so ridiculous that it obliterates everything. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see. No dreams, journeys directed by the gods, or forced happy endings.
What is your favorite Big Lie in fiction?