Monday, January 18, 2010
Serendipity is the Enemy!
As a mystery and crime writer I like to believe in cause and effect. Beyond the poetry of the prose, there lay the nuts and bolts of story construction. My characters have to figure things out, so I have a series of objects placed in front of them and the correct construction of the right clues will show a solution. It is like being a puzzle-maker, but I use things beside jigsaws and lumber.
I recently hit a wall in a certain plot and had a character just stumble across a thread that would lead to a momentum- changing clue. To me it feels like a cheat. That moment of serendipity stands out like a sore thumb. It's the bathroom with the bad drain in the brand new house. With luck, I will be the only one to notice. Rather than going back and fiddling with it endlessly, I'm working on the next thing. But it is rather irritating to have a coincidence propel a detective story.
Clockwork folk, how often does this kind of thing happen to you?
(Yes, when it gets cold enough, I dress like a manga character.)