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Being Alert to Serendipity

Writing without a plot sounds like flying by the seat of your pants (hence the term ‘pantser’) but this kind of writing inspires an awareness to serendipity which creates startling results for the developing story.  Surprises take the story in new directions and keep the plot fresh.

I had a big example of this last week.  I happened to turn on the radio in the car and overheard a few minutes of an expert talking about whales.  He told the story of a Canadian Indian tribe who traditionally used their relationship with orcas to solve the tribe’s problems.  In that moment I had to pull over because I suddenly knew the theme of the whole Selkie Moon Mystery Series – a theme I’ve been writing about without realising it, a theme I could never have planned or plotted because I didn’t know it existed until I heard the story.  Now I’m writing Book Two with this theme shaping the events. 

The epiphany was the result of being alert to serendipity.  If I had my plot already planned, the story would have passed by without impact.