Posted: April 28, 2010 in Uncategorized, Wednesday's Writing Tip

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In real life coincidences happen all the time.

On the day of the test you didn’t study for, the professor gets sick. A hail storm keeps the crooks from breaking into your house. Someone facing a layoff wins the lottery.hmm...

Coincidence isn’t allowed in fiction–at least not to solve a plot point.

Readers feel cheated. You took them for 200+ page ride and then you resolved things with an act of God.

No good.

Robert McKee, the grumpy screenwriter guy, says that you can’t use coincidence beyond the first half of a book. That makes sense. You can use a coincidence to start off a story but you can’t resolve the plot in that way.

So if you got to the point of your manuscript and you’ve backed yourself into a corner don’t roll out the tornado, the unforeseen inheritance or the mystery good Samaritan.

Suck it up and make your characters go to work.

  1. Mark Terry says:

    I solve my plot problems by having the cavalry ride in. Hell, it worked for Tolkein in the battle of Helm’s Deep.

  2. D. B. Dean says:

    ccccccccccccccraaaap – back to the drawing board!

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