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To kick off the series is CHERYL RAINFIELD. Her newest book is STAINED, and does it sound like a must read. I really loved her cover and these words: "Sometimes YOU have to be your own hero."
Tagline: Sarah is abducted and must find a way to rescue herself.
Her Advice: Write what you love and what you want to read. Write about things you care deeply about; your work will have more passion and readers will feel it. And read as much as you can, especially in the genre you write in.
I found myself grappling with the issue of coincidence when I started writing middle grade fantasy. I'd never had to think about it before and that was because I avoided it. At least I tried. Then I found an old article by Nancy Kress and thought it might be helpful to others who also try to avoid this taboo in their plots.
Here's what she suggested. Coincidence can be effective in 3 specific situations:
- When it sets up a plot complication, but doesn't resolve it.
So let's see what that means. Let's say your character "accidentally" bumps into her ex-whatever and finds him once again irresistible. From then on, the story can be about their reconciliation or their attempted reconciliation and failure--whatever direction you want your story to take. The chance meeting doesn't occur at the end when you're trying to wrap up the story and their meeting will give you a perfect ending.
- When the story is comedy and you're not trying to set up reality.
I had in mind You've Got Mail when I read this. How coincidental could that online meeting between a small bookstore owner and the large F O X conglomerate be? And then keeping the secret was a great tension builder throughout the story.
- When you're trying to make the point that life is more "mysterious and unpredictable" than people can imagine.
Ms. Kress says this is the most sophisticated use of coincidence and she uses her own short story to show how it could be done. Her character has nothing but a series of coincidences. He chokes on food, but while he's choking his car's struck and the force dislodges the particle in his throat. These "miracles" continue throughout the story, baffling the character and pushing the reader's ability to suspend disbelief. Her suggestion is to be sure the character remains REAL even while the unreal events occur.
Hope you'll stop by Cheryl Rainfield's blog and say hi. Check out her book. She has lots to say in every one of them. And how about coincidence? What's your take on using it?
I'll leave you with this today: "Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded."