I had my own moments of synchronicity this week. At the weekend I was at an excellent conference entitled Great Writing organised by Graeme Harper. Here as well as giving a paper (I will blog on this later) I chaired two brilliant panels. One panel included a paper by Hannah Kent of Flinders University, Australia, which was entitlted 'Intuiting Agnes: Synchronicity, Research and the Writer's 'Hunch''. This was a fascinating paper about Hannah's trip to Iceland and how she kept coming across people who had information pertaining to the novel she was writing. She related this all back to synchronicity. Then on Facebook a link to a blog was posted which was also exploring synchronicity and how it can be used by writers.
I decided to put my penny's worth in too. I believe that synchronicity is very important to writers and we are not always aware it is happening. I would like to think there is some magic to it but logically I think it is more a case of the fact that we are very aware and highly tuned into what we are writing. Consequently we immediately pick up on anything that has a vague connection to it.
A couple of years ago when I was on an Arvon retreat I had been working on my novel Ham & Jam. In this novel I talk about Bill Milins who was the piper with Lovat's Special Brigade during the D Day Landings. Having just written the chapter that involved him I got up and went to the kitchen for a drink. The daily paper was open on the table where someone had abandoned it. The lead story was how Bill Milins had recently died. I hadn't seen or heard anything about this until I saw that paper. It was a very strange feeling. But this is not the only one. I have had many experiences like that and I am sure I am not the only writer to do so.
Synchronicity can also be a really useful plot device that can help move your story on and tie things together. I was writing yesterday and one of my characters was walking along a street when she looked up she saw a red car. This red car could have meant nothing except there had only been one other car mentioned in the whole story so far and that was, yes, a red car belonging to a particularly unpleasant character. A whole new plot line appeared in that brief moment that would create both cohesion and drama to the story. She was going to be kidnapped. When I started writing I had no idea this was going to happen. My unconscious stepped forward and took over. As writers I think we do need to have faith in these sudden diversions. It can take the story to a whole new level.
Have you had moments of synchronicity?
Here are The Police singing Synchronicity