I've been thinking what to post this time...So I decided to post both ideas at the same time before getting into more interesting character related posts.
The Rogue Writer
I don't know how you guys fare with mixing up your writer life with your day-to-day. Most of you, I guess, get help from family members to carve some time out for writing, reading and (in some cases) critiquing.
I'm not like that. My day-to-day life is filled with stuff I must do, and there's no one there who takes my writing seriously. It is a fun little hobby I have which must not interfere with the importance of school or other things.
Being non-native English and writing in English, my family does not read my work - my parents don't know enough English to read a book in the language, my bros don't read (anything) and my boyfriend only read my first draft of the first novel. But he's not very keen on reading either.
So, I write whenever I can. Whenever I get a moment in which I don't have to keep someone company or spend time with my b/f. This resulted in my doing a lot of mind-plotting and putting it on paper whenever I can.
I don't get compliments because I write. No one tells me I'm creative and pats my back. My writing career is like a second job I'm doing behind everyone's back.
But, honestly, I'm not sure I mind. The more impressive when I will make it and get published and be filthy rich.
So, every time I write a page, edit something or crit someone, I'm an assassin on a mission, creeping through windows and planting my thoughts with you (kinda like inception).
In my earlier draft of my YA novel, Ruby, I had my characters find some information with sheer dumb luck. I thought it was a laugh. But apparently, it's a big fiction no-no.
Example (excerpt from Ruby v 1.0):
“How about trying our dumb luck?” Kyle asked, taking a big book and opening it at random. “I never actually made a plan either but it shouldn’t be too hard.” He smiled and started reading out loud: “The legend of the Twin Sun-temples of Yucatan. There we go. Do I have dumb luck or what? I guess it comes with being dumb.”
Critter comment 1: For an adventure story, this was too easy. Consider having Sam and Kyle seek out this information in a more active way.
Critter comment 2: Heroes shouldn't solve problems through luck.
Okay, I get where they're going. And I've changed this part (because I've restructured the entire chapter - and fixed all the nasty errors in this one example sentence). But, I can't help but think... don't we all get dumb luck sometimes? In real life.
My personal example: Had an exam yesterday - nasty interview with a crazy teacher (I mean crazy, he failed 18 people in a row for no real reason at all). I spent 10 hours outside the examination room to wait for my turn. My head was bursting, my stomach ached as I'd hardly eaten anything that day, and I was just about to barf because of the nerves. All I'd studied was a giant mess in my head and I couldn't even speak properly.
So, at about 9 p.m., I entered the examination room, picked a subject and sat down to write it -> it was the worst possible subject. I could only remember one line for each question and the fact that I'd prayed outside that I wouldn't get this subject.
The girl before me failed. I started talking and immediately messed up, but managed to draw the teacher into another subject matter. Then I read my 2 sentences for the second subject and he says: Is 9 an acceptable grade for you? (as in 9 out of 10). I couldn't believe it. I mean, if that's not dumb luck, what is?
So, yes, it happens in real life - people do get dumb luck once in a while. I believe it has something to do with Karma.
And in my characters' case, they did have the book there - maybe they would have searched for that particular page a bit more, or maybe they would have gotten the book later, or maybe some other team-member would've found that information - Seeing how unlucky they get throughout the book, I wanted to give them this small victory. Not that it makes any difference since I've changed this up.
It got me wondering though - what is the border between realism and author laziness when it comes to dumb luck? I want to give my characters a break once in a while. Does that kill the tension or destroy the conflict?
To me, a twist is something that I didn't expect. And, seriously, who expects dumb luck in fiction?
I do agree that if it happens to often and too conveniently, we have a problem. And after this one time, I don't think I've ever given my characters explicit luck ever again, in anything I've ever written.
I guess I'm growing up. Or finally learning how to write properly.
Sorry about the cooky post. But my head is still a mess after my fabulous exam. I'll be back to normal in a few days and talk about more joyous things.
*goes off to eat a ton of chocolate*