Feeling Lucky?

With Saint Patrick’s Day around the corner, you might be feeling as if luck is everywhere you look: in four-leaf clovers, Shamrock Shakes, horseshoes, a rabbit’s foot, and the number seven. Or perhaps everything is just a coincidence, or predetermined by destiny. In a 2008 Guardian essay critiquing Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Misérables, Adam Thirlwell writes: “In this gargantuan novel, everything seems utterly improbable. Every plot operates through coincidence. Normally, novelists develop techniques to naturalize and hide this. Hugo, with his technique of massive length, refuses to hide it at all. In fact, he makes sure that the plot’s coincidences are exaggerated.” Thirlwell notes Hugo’s classic novel straddles the ideas of lucky coincidence and predetermination. Based on your personal beliefs about luck, coincidence, and destiny, write a story in which a plot unfolds according to a series of consequential encounters, discoveries, and mistakes. How do your own convictions about these ideas affect your characters’ decision-making and the overall philosophy of your story?