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A few days ago, I learned that two of the authors, Justine Graykin and Lindsey Duncan,  whose stories are featured in Speculative Mystery Iconoclast #1ran into each other at World Fantasy in Calgary.  They had no idea that the other’s story had been published in SMI until Justine announced that she was going do a reading from ‘Ferrit and Faux’, her Fantasy/Mystery tale published in our debut issue.

What a coincidence!

It got me thinking though. Coincidence seems to be suspiciously commonplace in everyday life.  How many times have you picked up a ringing phone and it turns out to be a person that you were just thinking about?  How many times have you met a new friend who shares an interest or hobby with you at a location so far removed from said hobby (at least in your mind)?  For example, meeting a fellow Hell’s Angel at an Interior Design expo (okay, that was stereotypical of me – couldn’t think of a more contrasting example).

Coincidence is fascinating,  because of a number of reasons (or rather different reactions to it):

1. Some people point to the unseen hand of fate or the universe. I was meant to do x…

2. Others believe coincidence often has a logical explanation. Using the World Fantasy example, one could posit that because both Lindsey and Justine are Fantasy writers and the theme of the con was “Mystery in Fantasy and Horror” that it was logical that they would both attend. Their attendance and similar genre would influence the probability of them attending similar readings at the con, and would in turn increase the probability of them meeting.

It is interesting to play with the varied reactions of readers with regard to coincidence in stories.   Is coincidence just coincidence or does its occurence point to something more?  Writers may choose to lean towards reaction #1at one point of the story and then to reaction #2 at another.  It’s often entertaining to have these viewpoints present within the story’s characters – this may help readers relate to said characters.

Coincidence is a powerful tool for writers and when done well creates expectations (based on the reactions listed above). The fun part is deciding whether to meet these expectations or go in th opposite direction.

As always, keep writing and keep submitting!

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Our site (http://www.specmystery.com ) is up and running! The debut issue of Speculative Mystery Iconoclast #1 is finally available.

Please visit our site and support Speculative Mystery Iconoclast.

Thank you to those who already have.

Mark your calenders!

THE COUNTDOWN TO 7 NOVEMBER 2008 (OUR PUBLICATION AND WEBSITE LAUNCH DATE) HAS BEGUN!!!!

CAN’T WAIT!

KEEP WRITING AND KEEP SUBMITTING! (why am I shouting????)

For those of you who into all mediums (or should I say media) Speculative Mystery, will find this interview very intersting. I especially like the procedural and fringe science mixture. As regular readers would note, the above is the sort of submissions we want for Speculative Mystery Iconoclast. Well, for a portion of the slushpile anyway.

Should be good!

The countdown to the debut issue has begun…Pretty exciting, really! Oh yeah, the website will be up and running too.

That’s about it for now. No wait, We’ve changed our submission windows to ALL-YEAR-ROUND.

Keep writing and keep submitting!

 Announcement:

 

Speculative Mystery Iconoclast will be making its debut at the End of Spetember 2008. In addition, a decision has been made to let our publication go bi-annually (meaning every 6 months)i nstead of quarterly as was reported earlier. It was felt that the six month cycle (instead of the 3 month cycle) gave us more of an opportunity to work with authors (both selected and those not so lucky).

 

The shortlist for the premier issue of Speculative Mystery Iconoclast has been finalized. Ruthless Darwinian rules will be enforced to thin the herd until we’re left with the fittest stories!

 

Can’t wait! 

Our slushpile suggests that Why-dunnit is not as popular as the Who-dunnit or the How-dunnit. Although quite a few submissions have combined all three types of mysteries, the full why-question-centric tales are not forthcoming.

I guess many writers believe that if you already have the ‘who’ and ‘how’, then the ‘why’ (although important) is just not intriguing enough to be the focus of a story.

Not so, I say. The why-dunnit represents some interesting opportunities in terms of original plotting.

The mysteries in why-dunnits are linked to questions of:

  • Motive (in crime mysteries); and
  • Why an unexpected event has occurred (in non-crime mysteries).

Example:
When a crime is committed, and there are several witnesses and/or a mass of evidence identifying the guilty party (who) as well as the method used (how), the motive (why) could make for a great tale if:
The ‘who’ doesn’t make any sense – there may be better suspects or an apparent lack of motive.

Tip: The answer to the ‘why’ is often character-driven (i.e. what the characters want or need) or as a result of movement from the status quo to alternate state of affairs. Characterisation and setting play a role in this regard and may even be clues.

A note on speculative mysteries in general:
A writer may infuse speculative elements in the ‘who, how, or the why’ of a story. Some tales are successful because all three aspects are given a speculative treatment. In others, only one question relates to the speculative domain.

Keep writing and keep submitting!