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Posted on October 11, 2012

Conjuring up happy coincidences in writing is one of the most elusive and rewarding experiences for a writer.

A happy coincidence doesn't happen when you write out your synopsis or when you peck away at your chapter summaries. It's not something that can be wedged into place structurally like adding supports to a bridge. It happens when you're in the thick of writing, hammering away at a scene.

A happy coincidence is an unplanned plot development that falls into place in a free-flowing fashion. Once it magically appears on your radar, you find it easy to make connections to earlier elements in your story to the point where it looks planned and clever, but it wasn't. It appears to be completely out of left field as to where it came from for you, but so intrinsically sensible and relevant in the story that your reader will have trouble seeing it as a happy coincidence. Only you think to yourself: Where did that come from?

Although, I have a theory on that. Let me expound on said theory because I so rarely get to expound in my day-to-day life. While to my conscious mind the happy coincidences seem ephemeral, conjured up more out of a whimsy, I think they are fabricated in your subconscious when you're not writing. Then when you sit down with your newest chapter, they boil to the surface and insert themselves in a way that makes you giddy and like a discoverer stumbling across a hidden treasure trove. The connections and legitimacy as to how the happy coincidence ties into earlier plot developments comes into focus. But I secretly think my subconscious already developed those ties and waited for me to catch up.

Happy coincidences make the writing process come alive for me. They make it an extremely rewarding experience. They're a motivational surprise. After all, I never see them coming. Or do I?


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