Eric Mayer

Byzantine Blog

Get Email Updates
Cruel Music
Diana Rowland
Martin Edwards
Electric Grandmother
Jane Finnis
Keith Snyder
My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
Mysterious Musings
Mystery of a Shrinking Violet
The Rap Sheet
reenie's reach
Thoughts from Crow Cottage
This Writing Life
Woodstock's Blog
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

1481768 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Just Coincidence?
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (8)

I happened to be thinking about coincidences last night. Our lives are mostly cobbled together out of chance and yet mystery novels should not depend on coincidence, we are told.

Mystery writer Charles Willeford apparently never got the message to judge by his 1984 novel, Miami Blues. The noirly humorous story, in which Miami cop Hoke Moseley deals with the bizarre murder of a Hare Krishna and a brilliant psychopathic criminal who's teamed up with a less than brilliant young prostitute, is a series of wildly improbable coincidences. I loved it. So did a lot of other readers. And critics.

I'm not sure I'd have the fortitude to buck common wisdom to the point of writing a novel which was as full of happenstance as life. Could we say, though, that (for those of us who are not Charles Willeford) a story might be allowed at least to begin with a coincidence? Isn't it quite common? A particular woman walks into one particular gin joint in the world. That sort of thing.

How often would there be no story to tell except for the initial coincidence, which set everything off, and which, of course, would not have been allowed into the narrative had it showed up in chapter seven or eleven?

Still, even if we can be excused a coincidence here and there, the deus ex machina remains unforgivable. Or does it? How many real stories in our lives end as much by happenstance as they began?

Is it possible that a story may be rendered worth telling because of the manner in which it ends? Even if it involves a coincidence?

It sometimes seems to me that meaningful events are usually due to the chance alignments of circumstances rather than planning. Why are novels not allowed to reflect this?

Having said that I'm not exactly sure what I'm getting at. Perhaps it would be best if I were suddenly run over by a truck.

Read/Post Comments (8)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.