I am currently reading: Incidents in the Rue Laugier, Anita Brookner. Penguin, 1996, ISBN 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Oh blessed serendipity when two posts collide in the outer blogsphere to produce a Gestalt outcome.
Calistro has posted on Writing Fear and the difficulty of choice she has to make concerning a character who, in her words, is a tiny bit 'out there'.
As I have blogged elsewhere, (half way down here to be precise), I find the creative spark is ignited by the process of writing. Events, remarks, even characters seemingly emerge on screen without so much as a by your leave, without invitation.
However, I reason, they have not emerged just to make mischief. They have a purpose, not always immediately apparent granted, but somewhere in my fecund subconscious their presence makes sense.
Let me clarify. A novel has its own internal logic, its own set of rules, and, so long as everything that happens within the novel fits to that logic, it matters not how crazy it may appear in the wider world. Think of Terry Pratchet's Disc World, think of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, think of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, think of any great novel.
Indeed, one can argue, that one purpose of a novel is to produce an alternative universe where life is not quite as we know it, Jim. A universe that informs us of our own by focusing on it through a distorting lens.
This internal logic of which I talk can be dictated by the view of the world presented by one character, by an individual event or series of events, by the whole world in which the book is set, or by its premise.
So long as a story is faithful to its own logic, so long as its characters remain true to themselves, then I am more than willing to believe that someone can wake up and believe themselves to be a beetle.