Friday, February 19, 2010

Tempting Fate

So I made it all the way through Mardi Gras without getting sick, only to succumb to a head cold yesterday. I must have tempted fate, bragging about how how I got my government mind control shot--er, I mean flu shot--which kept me healthy all winter long.

A few weeks ago (maybe it was just days, I don't recall when exactly. The sickness, she confuses me) Roni over at Fiction Groupie wrote a post about coincidences. Specifically, contrived coincidences.

Sure, coincidences happen in real life--that's why we say life is stranger than fiction. But just because something could possibly happen if all the stars aligned, it doesn't mean your reader is going to buy it.

I agree with her wholeheartedly about contrived coincidences that help your characters out. That just smacks of authorial intrusion and tip-toes into deus ex machina territory.

But what about "coincidences" that serve to keep your characters from their goals? Will you tolerate a coincidence with nasty results better than one that helps the protagonist?

Can people--and thus, characters--really "jinx" themselves by thinking they've almost reached their goal?

More importantly, can this device be overused just like the good coincidences to the point that they also feel contrived, too much like authorial intrusion?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Forewarned, I'm full up to my eyebrows with Sudafed and Emergen-c, so it might take me a while to respond. ;)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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