Characters who Believe too Easily

Considering that I write time travel romances, I also like to read them. Same goes for other types of paranormal romance – shifters, fae, vampires, witches, other worlds, psychic powers, etc. My favorites almost always involve a main character who is initially unaware of his/her paranormal abilities or nature, or who comes into these abilities in the beginning of the book and must learn how to use this special nature or power. But one problem I have with many of these books is that these characters believe too easily. They learn something about themselves that no reasonable person would easily accept, then boom! Hey, I’m a vampire, that’s great (or sucks), and off the story goes, no problem.

I can suspend disbelief to accept, for the time I’m reading, that there are such things as vampies, werewolves, fairies, or time travel. But when a character with no previous experience, no reason to believe, suddenly finds he/she is one of the above and is almost immediately accepting of that fact – well, that’s a little harder to swallow.

The characters believe too easily, and in doing so, are less believable to me.

Grave New Day CoverOne book I recently read where this was handled well was Grave New Day, an urban fantasy by Lina Gardiner. Jess, the main character, is a vampire – but she’s been one for a long time, so it makes sense that she’s with the program. What she finds unbelievable is meeting her human partner, John – who’d died in the previous installment of the series. He’s not a vampire – in Gardiner’s world, vampires can sense each other – but he seems to have some superhuman abilities he lacked before. Add to this the fact that he can’t remember who he is or how he came to wake in a mysterious, underground crypt, and the only understandable course is for Jess to be suspicious. John gradually discovers who he is, but the harder one to convince is Jess, and it takes her over halfway through the book before she believes.

In my upcoming time travel book, Time’s Enemy, main character Tony gains the ability to psychically travel in time after nearly dying in an accident. For the first few chapters, he’s convinced his trip to ancient Mayan times and being sacrificed was nothing more than a hallucination or a bad dream. Even when he travels back two years within his own life, he has trouble believing. Not until he finds the Saturn Society, a group of other time-travelers, does he begin to believe, as he develops the ability to control his travels.

If you read paranormal romance, fantasy or science fictions books dealing with the unbelievable, do you find that many characters believe too easily, and does it bother you? Or is it okay, as long as the story’s otherwise believable and entertaining?

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