How many of you experience coincidences in your life – and how often? So what do I mean by a coincidence. Well, it might be like my parents travelling to Australia – then taking a round Australia road-trip with my aunt and uncle,who live there, and meeting a girl from the next village to ours in Cornwall, UK. It wasn’t just the meeting, but they actually had to have talked to the girl, and recognising a British accent, ask where she was from to realise the coincidence – to go half way round the world to meet someone who would nortmally live so close.
Or when you just decide to phone someone and the phone rings – it’s them! Or you and your friend both buy the same gift for a third friend? Or you get lost in a strange town, stop the car to ask someone the way and that person happens to be someone you went to college with over ten years ago!
OK, so now, hands up if you’ve ever been struck by a coincidence .. yeah .. and if you have, I bet it’s not been the only one!
If you haven’t you probably are not tuned in to them, but somehow, once you notice them, you seem to encounter more 🙂
I’ve written previously on Inspiration for my novel Some Kind of Synchrony of how a couple of things brewed themselves into a plot. (A friend mentioning a way she and another whiled away the miles by making up and telling each other episodes in a Mills and Boon type story, being one of them)
First take a time everyday when you can’t do much else but sit by and wait. I’m risking a lot telling you this – one of my sons may never speak to me again 😉 This ‘time’ that I had was sitting waiting for my youngest son to ‘perform’ on his potty during that crucial potty-training stage! Now, you just can’t wander off when this is in progress (not if you know what is good for you) and you can’t be in a hurry (your tension will trasmit itself to the child in question and a great pile of anxiety can build up about the whole process) no, you just have to be patient and this little guy would rather sit there and play with a couple of toys while his body thought about what it was doing / going to do, and this could take quite a while each morning. (He always prefered play to the serious business of life – and still does!)
So I’m sitting there and a story that had been playing itself quite a bit was running, (in my head – it’s as if I’m watching a movie somewhere just up and right of my eyeline – where you often ‘look’ inside your head for memories) so grabbing an old note book I decided to start writing it down.
Before long Eventually (these things take time – both of them) I had filled three notebooks and the little lad had passed that crucial stage and knew what he was about. I was encouraged to take some time out to type it up on the computer and to my amazement found I had a 80,000 word novel. I was blinded by the – to me- amazing fact that I had written so much – that the story hung together – that I had written some parts ‘so poetically’ – that the few friends and family I showed it to were encouraging. I proudly sent it off to publishers and agents! Huh! (blush to think about it now)
Like I said – I had written it almost by accident – once I got into the craft of writing a bit more I realised that this was my ‘apprentice piece’ – and apart from friends and family (perhaps not even those) I should have consigned it to the back of a drawer rather than sending it off and, taking my lessons, moved forward to a better crafted novel. This ‘book’ does indeed reside in the back of a drawer – and though there are good sections, though the plot still hangs together it was definitely not worth sending it off in the state it was in – and as for the wonderfully poetical parts – that’s where the phrase ‘you must kill your darlings’ comes from – they, most definitely, should have had the chop!
As I wrote that first story I hooked many of my characters to people I knew (some just casually) and stole from them their description or their personality. Over the following year I noticed a few little coincidences. Things that I had made happen to these characters did happen to the real people. When I examine it in detail it was only one or two things, nothing bad or harmful – and some quite logical in their progression – but coincidences all the same. This was the other germ of inspiration for Some Kind of Synchrony, which I didn’t write for another twelve years or so.
Another of the ‘words of wisdom’ handed down to new writers (along with ‘write from what you know) is ‘do not rely on coincidences for your plot to work out’ – well, not always put in those terms – but that’s the gist. (good blog post from The Ediors Blog on this HERE) Readers, understandably, feel cheated when, to get out of an awkward plot situation, some kind of coincidence provides the opportunity of escape . So, to base a whole novel on coincidences was a bit of a risk in itself. However, once you know and understand the rules, it is possible to take a definitive decision to break them to achieve a wholly different effect.
Some Kind of Synchrony
How would you feel if you made up a thriller, pinning the characters on some of your friends, in which people got really hurt, even died, only to find later that spookily similar stuff started to happen to just those people … and what if one of those was someone you loved? First 3 chapters of Some Kind of Synchrony can be read Free by going to this link. (as a PDF file) or you can download the shorter Amazon sample for Kindle here
For FWT? cheerleaders – I am still at the 10st and am taking a few weeks to stabilise at this new weight. It’s been helter-skelter down, 28 lbs in 22 weeks, and I am adjusting to this new me and feeling great! Having been away and unable to update daily the weeks 23 and 24 are blank but I shall resume my daily record as of next Monday. Thank you all for your great support so far!
For everyone waiting for my Win a Kindle (or one of 4 other prizes) draw – we are really on the last countdown.. as of today there are only 89 places left – so if there’s someone you haven’t told here is possibly your last chance. Forward this blog to your friends and family – hopefully they’ll enjoy the eclectic mix to be found here – something for everyone – from baking to body-boarding, nature to novels, local history to losing weight – and anything else that the catches my interest along the way.
What is the most amazing coincidence you have experienced in your life? I absolutely love to hear from you!