I am reading a book now by a well established and highly respected author. It is fairly pulpy (in a good way) and I am struck by how casually circumstances pile up by sheer coincidence to help move the plot along. I always second-guess myself while writing, always striving for "realism". This may be foolish in the crime genre.
I myself don't mind a little artistic license to help a story along. An element of the fantastic is a good thing, I think. If this story wasn't spurred on by some amazing happenings then why write it down? For example, few stories are written about a caper gone right, only one gone horribly wrong. So, what of the blind luck that moves a book along from plot point to plot point? How forgiving are you? I give authors a lot of leeway, more than I give myself. I constantly revise to make things less dependent on coincidence. Organic and true are my mantras.
Should I loosen the reins a bit? It certainly would make things easier. And when a writer of renown and a forty-year career can get away with it, why not me? Ah, there's the rub. I think established writers are given a pass on that sort of thing. Maybe it's just the fact that a highly entertaining book can trump some wild coincidence but I think people scrutinize freshman authors much more over style and plot devices. It's not a bad thing. Having readers be on guard with a finely tuned BS detector is not a bad thing. But getting readers to go along with some suspect plot workings just because you are telling them one hell of a yarn would be even better!