I recently noticed in my latest
masterpiece novel there is quite a lot of things happening by chance. For example:
The main character just happens to pass by an old, frail warrior who can direct him to where he needs to go to advance the plot. He meets this warrior while being unable to sleep and wanting to go and do something, get some exercise and air to help sleep.
To be honest, I can totally identify with my main character. If you need to go to bed and you won't sleep, the best way to get yourself to sleep is to tire yourself so much you can't do anything but sleep. In a huge amount of my works there is a common theme of my characters being unable to sleep, going out for a stroll and discovering something jolly spiffing!
Two assassins sent out to become Kingkillers just happen to pass by a very important plot item in the middle of the road. Wow, a chart of everyone who has ever sinned! It's totally normal to just find that lying around, totally not unusual.
Well actually with that one the reasons the Chart of Sinners is there is actually very extensive. It's got a reason for how it's just lying on the pavement (not a stupid backstory, it's a disaster that actually happens within the book) but I was wondering if it was bad storytelling to just have them come across it, just like that.
I'm aiming not to limit this question to just my story, so here we go:
Is it bad storytelling to have something notable to the plot happen by complete chance?
Should everything have a really good reason for being that way? Should nothing happen by chance?
Just to add to my examples. That Chart of Sinners could have appeared at any location in the entire world. The place it was located was 100% random for a very good, plot centric reason.I still see that as chance though. It was total chance that the assassins would have come across it.
To add a little note about my thing where the guy just happens to come across a character important to the development of the plot show up at completely a random time:
Is it bad to have something that opens a massive plot point gateway happen totally by chance? For example, my guy discovering a frail warrior who knows how to get somewhere which will advance the plot (though the frail warrior kills himself a few minutes after meeting him due to grief).