Yeah, right! Coincidences in fiction

In 1953, a man in Brooklyn bought a newspaper and paid for a nickel. day, the newsboy happened to drop nickel, and it apart on the sidewalk, revealing a tiny frame of microfilm. And so began the tortuous path led to the apprehension of Colonel Rudolf Abel, Soviet master spy. True story, would your reader buy it in a work of fiction? Or would he or she go, “Yeah, right!” and turn the page? The “yeah, right” reaction is easily evoked by such a too-obvious coincidence. More one “yeah, right” in the same story, and the reader will probably put the book down and use his or her precious time for something else. ’re all entitled to one whizz-bang coincidence either starts our story or turns it into a new and unexpected direction. Think Casablanca : “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” And if she hadn’t, we’ all be the poorer for it. In A Study in Scarlet , Watson runs into Young Stamford, a colleague, who asks him what he’s up to. “Looking for lodgings,” I […]

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