A chance moment

I blabber on about writing a lot. Probably because I can. There are moments in life when separate things slip together and all of a sudden bam! It all makes sense. The sudden realization of something either right before your eyes or close to it.

I like to lead a character up to the moment when they finally look up, wide-eyed and  realize something important. If I’m writing a scene but don’t know how to bridge the events properly I’ll use a chance moment. Something random but not unbelievable.

The options for purposefully random chance moments are infinite. Since they are random, you can choose anything or anyone to make it happen. Even a character never before used. So long as it all fits the story and is not truly random and unbelievable.

“Scott you look terrible.” Valery stopped him in the hall outside the lunchroom.
“Couldn’t sleep.” He ran his hands through his dark hair. 
“Do you need time-” Valery stopped abruptly when he looked her in the eyes.
“Sasha’s in trouble isn’t she?” He rubbed his face after her minute nod.
Valery leaned closer lowering her voice. “She was in protective custody.”
“Was?”
“I only found out most of this yesterday. She was told to keep it from us for her safety. Did she tell you about that guy attacking her?”
Scott nodded. “A little.”
Valery tapped away on her smart phone and held it up to him. “When this came out in the news last week I…” She swallowed hard as Scott stared at the image of Baylor Crowen.
“Shit, that’s the guy? The mangler attacked her?”
“Yes. They only got his picture because Sasha got him arrested. Apparently he tried again.”
Scott took her phone for a closer look. “That’s when she went on vacation?”
“Yes. The detective said.” Valery swallowed hard, her voice cracking from strain. “He found her while under protection.”
Scott’s mouth fell open, but he couldn’t speak.
“Something happened, the cops wont say what and I have no idea what’s going on.”
“He looks familiar.” Scott squinted at the screen.
“Well he’s been headline news twice since last week.”
“I know.” He tapped his chin. “But…” He saw Jenny approaching with her overly bubbly gait. She was Clifton’s unofficial assistant. The gossip about the two of them isn’t kind.
“I actually met him at the bar the night he attacked Sasha. I thought he was hot.” Valery shivered at the memory. 
“Who’s hot?” Jenny grinned and peeked a the phone. “That’s the weird HR guy.”
Valery and Scott looked at each other alarmed.
“HR?” Valery queried.
“Uh huh.” Jenny sat. “He comes in every few weeks to see Clifton.” She scrunched her face. “He’s sorta hot, but prefers brunettes. Too bad.” She twirled a lock of her dark blonde hair around her index. “It’s funny for HR, he’s never talked to anyone. Just oggles Alice, yells at Clifton and leaves.”
“He’s been here?” Valery glanced at Scott. If she had seen him, she’d remember.
“Sure has. Not lately though. So whats up with him?”
“Oh.” Valery licked her lips and grabbed her phone from Scott. “He’s not on our payroll anymore. Since Clifton’s away would you let me know if he comes by again? He left some things here.”
“Sure thing Valery.” Jenny held up a thumb drive. “Amber needs this. Later.”
Valery was already dialing the number detective Thorn gave her as she dragged Scott toward her office.

Since Valery and Scott are minor support characters I didn’t want them to figure too much out on their own. So in Comes Jenny to slip in the missing piece of the puzzle.  The only hitch to having someone provide random information is it needs to be believable. I’ve mentioned a mysterious HR guy before so I could work it in this way. It’s also a bit more exciting than a narrative or dual dialogue of Scott and Valery “working it out”.

My advice about a chance moment.
I love them if I’m stuck with a way to get to a point in an interesting or exciting way. Give it a try, and see what happens.

-Sheryl

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Infinite

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