One of the things I’ve learned to enjoy about writing is the unexpected—the sudden appearance of information I need, the unexpected meeting of just the right person I need to talk to. I’ve now reached a point where I almost expect it, yet it’s still thrilling and sometimes unnerving.
Some call it serendipity, others label it as kismet. It’s almost a woowoo factor. I need X and within the week, I have X.
For example, a few years back I was writing a story about a female horse whisperer. I knew I’d read an article about a horse whisperer in the horse magazines we had, so I started looking through some of the old issues. While I was looking, my husband was doing his usual channel surfing, and suddenly he hit a show about Pat Parelli, who is a horse whisperer. I yelled for him to stop, and for the next hour I watch how Parelli handles untrained and unruly horses. (The article I’d been looking for was about him.)
When my husband asked why I was going through the magazines and why I was so excited about that show, I told him what I was working on, and he said, “Oh, I just heard a review on PBS about a man who listens to horses.” The next day I purchased Monty Roberts’ book (Monty is a well-known horse whisperer) and had more than ample information for my book.
When I was writing The Crows, I was in South Haven with my husband at the slip where we kept our cruiser. The couple who had a boat in the slip opposite ours were sitting on the end of the dock, enjoying an evening cocktail. We started talking, and, as usual, the conversation came around to the fact that I was a writer. The husband asked what I was working on, and I told him a bit about The Crows. I said my main problem was I needed to talk to someone in the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department about some of the details in the book.
The wife chuckled and the husband smiled, then said: “I’m a homicide detective with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department.”
He was a fantastic resource, read the finished ms, suggested some corrections, and told me the rest was right on. Six months later the couple divorced, and I’ve never seen him again.
Be prepared for the unexpected. Even in this challenge. A-to-Z Blogging Challenge