What A Coincidence

Ever read a book and think that the story line was just too unbelievable?  Too coincidental?

Of course you have…it happens all the time…in books, movies, and television.

You’ve had those ‘OMG-this-is-ridiculous’ moments.

But…reading or watching them unfold is one thing.  Being the creator of them is another.

This is the thing….coincidences happen in real life, but, in fiction, the writer has to be careful to not let coincidence drive the novel.

Why?  Because the reader may hate you for such ridiculousness.

Need two people to meet at just the right moment?  Give them a reason, please. 
Don’t let them just happen upon one another… IN THE MIDDLE OF CHINA.  Remember you have many techniques at your disposal…use them.

Have a character in a tough spot?  Need to save her?
Don’t send in the hero without giving him a reason to be there.  Unless he’s psychic, he will need you to provide a hint of his plan to save the day to the reader.  NEVER just put him there because ‘he happened to be walking by the warehouse and heard her voice echoing through the alley.’ 

Another bad out?  ‘Oh…a zombie is attacking me.  Let me pull out this handy ax I keep in my trunk.’
Unless your character is a logger, fireman, or ax murderer, they will need a reason for this type of thing.

Need your character to learn some revelation that changes everything?
Make them work for it.  I beg of you.  If your character needs to find an algorithm to stop a malicious virus from taking over every computer on the planet, don’t let her find it in the mad scientists unlocked lair…in his little journal that he happened to leave open on the exact page…with a GIANT RED ARROW pointing to said algorithm. 

Give the reader a break and your characters more credit.

Have you read any books lately that did this?  Did you keep reading or put it down? 

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