Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Luck and Personal Postulates

So I have this theory on luck. At least how my luck works.

I believe I have this pool of luck inside me somewhere. Your guess is as good as mine as to where it actually resides. Maybe it's in my lucky double-jointed thumbs, who knows?

But see, this pool can only hold so much. So when it hits a breaking point, I'm showered down upon with all kinds of winnings. Of course, once it's gone, it's gone so I have no more luck until the pool fills back up. Maybe that's a karma thing, but I'll have to think further before I postulate on that one.

Usually it'll be a string of winnings. Sometimes it's blown in one big-shot offering, but I never know when it will strike. It's like waiting for Christmas, but not knowing what day it's on.

Going back ten years, here are some of the prizes I've won in random order:

-A trip to New York (flight, hotel, Michael Jackson concert tickets)
-Lunch for two at my favorite restaurant
-$100
-A year membership to SCBWI
-$5000
-Free airport parking
-Books (several, and diverse)
-Gourmet chocolate-caramel apples (came in a freezer-package in the mail, very cool)
-Handmade bracelet
-Gift cards
-Full fixings for French dip sandwiches

Many of these came in quick succession, very few came as a single shot (just the $5000 in fact---that wiped my luck out for a good 2 years).

I know luck can often be looked down on in plot-lines. We're generally told that events in our novels have to be established, planned for, and have a good reason. But still, luck has its place. So where does it fit in in your work? Does it?

19 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm not sure if I can answer that question.

But WOW on all the things you've won. I won $200 when I was nine. I didn't know how much that was, and asked my mom if it was enough to buy a watch. :D

Of course, that's nothing like your $5000.

Christina Lee said...

You "lucky duck"! :D

I guess it's all how you think about-which in turn influences your characters thoughts. For example, I think luck has a lot to do with your mindset.

Lynn said...

That's a good question! I'm reading a novel about a winning lottery ticket but it's a dark novel, so luck could get twisted in a story. And, wow, you're one lucky lady!

Joanne said...

I'm not sure if it's luck that works in my fiction, or fate. Certain character decisions have reverberating effects that bring good fortune into others' lives. So one's actions bring good to others.

And Wow, you're lucky. How was that Michael Jackson concert and NY experience?

Laurel Garver said...

Interesting question. Throwing random bad things at characters seems completely acceptable, while tossing them some random good isn't for some reason. But both are equally plausible, aren't they?

And I'm reminded of Deb Caletti's _The Fortunes of Indigo Skye_, in which a teen waitresss is given an enormous tip that turns her world upside down.

Angela Felsted said...

It does seem as if good fortune comes all at once. How does that saying go, "When it rains, it pours." I always felt that way when I was single and trying to find good guys to date. I guess not it isn't an issue. Thank goodness for that.

Madeleine said...

Yes characters need a stroke of luck sometimes. I often think you top up your lucky pot when you've been kind and charitable to others and if you've been selfish etc. then it's like the 7 year broken mirror thing. Since characters must have lots of conflict and bad luck thrown at them it is great when they get a break. I hate characters who seem to fall from one disaster into another without even a little respite. Great question :O)

Tere Kirkland said...

Sort of reminds me of HP6, where J.K. Rowling introduces the Felix Felicitas potion, liquid luck. She uses it as a plot device to get a memory Dumbledore needs, but the reader totally buys it in the framework of the world and the larger story.

If you can make "luck" or fate, or destiny, or whatever you want to call it, work in the context of your story, I say go for it!

Great post!

MikeS said...

At first glance, I thought the topic of your post was "Luck and Personal Prostitutes". Luckily it was not.

I think luck can be a good tool if you are ultimately fatalistic. But from a personal standpoint, I tend to scoff at luck in novels because I don't understand it, having no natural luck of my own.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

And I'll try again...

I think luck can be used, but I would expect there to be some sort of explanation.But it would be interesting.

Yay for your awesome round of winning stuff.

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm kinda like you, only I tend to pull back naturally after several wins. Seems greedy to continue.

Actually, there's a lot of luck in books. The MC is being chased and happens to find that dark hiding place or a car idling (vacant of course). Or they happen to run into someone / overhear something that helps them solve a mystery. Lots of luck, they just downplay it.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Actually, in one of my books, my MC uses luck as a way to explain away magic. And can you please send a little luck my way? I'm not sure how it works blog-to-blog, but I think we can figure it out.

Medeia Sharif said...

When the conflict is resolved in my work there's a reversal from misfortune, but I wouldn't call it luck.

Amanda Sablan said...

You WON all of that awesome stuff? Man, you should share some of that luck! :O I've never won anything, at least that I can remember.

Luck seems to be a big player in action scenes, doesn't it? A person under peril is rescued just in time from what should have been certain doom. But it's kinda cheesy so I don't think I'd write that. :)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Gosh, I'll have to think about that question. I guess I've been so focused on having bad things happen to my characters, I haven't thought much about making them lucky. LOL!

BTW, what great things you've won over the years! That's pretty amazing!!

Amy

Heidi said...

I believe in luck, I believe in luck. Really good post!

Christopher said...

I need some of your luck! How do I build one of these pools?

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