I'm working on a short story right now in which the protagonist's self delusion is an important part of the story's irony and resolution. She thinks she impresses people in a certain way and can't understand why her own husband doesn't acknowledge this, but is instead, verbally abusive and demeaning to her. It's not so much that she sees the world through the proverbial rose-colored glasses as that she doesn't see the world, not as it is anyway.

So, to start the discussion, does a character's delusion ever prove a useful tool in your own writing?

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For me, sometimes the character's delusion IS the story--or at least it moves the plot along.

That said, unreliable narrators or characters can be tricky. Many readers won't pick up on the fact that the character is leading them through the story on a less than linear path. If they catch it too late, then the story may disappoint. But if you let the reader in on the secret early--and not too subtly--they get to be in on the device (which many readers enjoy).


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