This past week the fields and neighborhood lawns have been blossoming with white clover. I ended up making a garland of it along with a daisy “gem” and posted it on FaceBook. I wanted to make lots and lots more flowered jewelry, but adult stuff prevented me. However, that evening, as I picked up a book I read now and then, Working IX to V by Vicky Leon, what was the very next Roman occupation I read about? The Garland Maker. Seriously. I turned the page from the last job entry I’d read several days ago and there it was: Garland Maker. How serendipitous is that?
The earliest garlands-wreaths-diadems-chaplets-or-crowns were made for winners of races. Then for the dead during funeral. Then for weddings. Then for people who believed it kept them from getting “too” drunk. Then for kids-turned adults who still like to play at making jewelry.
Last night my husband and I were watching a new-to-us mystery on Netflix (“Longmire”) where the guest actor, Peter Weller, was the producer of the show. DH commented that it was Peter Weller who played “Robocop.” When the show was over and we turned off the Netfix connection, and there on the TV channel the system was tuned to, was “Robocop,” with Peter Weller in full silvery gear.
These two examples to point out that in real life there are serendipitous moments. But as authors, we have the tougher job to come up with ways which might give our characters moments which don’t seem so corny or planned, even though we do plan them. How do we pull off a smooth serendipitous moment for our characters without our readers rolling their eyes and saying, “Oh, sure”?
It can come in a dream (but mind your clichés), or a “chance” encounter with human, animal or nature. It might come in a comment another character says which pulls the main character’s thoughts back to a related incident or his book’s goal.
Try writing a scene where your main character has a serendipitous moment.