It’s a Small World

We all know the song. Half of you are probably humming it as you read this. And that’s okay. But have you ever stopped to think about what a small world it really is?

Running into people from your long distance past or who have crazy ties to you isn’t abnormal. That’s not to say it happens every day. But it does happen.

“Small world” moments in my life are even more pronounced now, with Facebook and LinkedIn, where we can quickly and easily see the people we know who our friends know, as well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve overhead or participated in a conversation that began with, “And how do you know ­­­_____?” or “Oh my gosh! You know ________!”

But it happens in other situations, too.

My Favorite “Small World” Story

In high school, I worked in a candy shop, Fannie May. I loved that job. Once, I had this family of four from Colorado come in. We talked for a few minutes, they told me what they wanted and asked if it would stay cold for their flight back to Colorado. I said it should be fine and offered some suggestions about keeping it cool. Then, I asked where in Colorado they live, since I have family there. They said they lived in a suburb of Denver. I said, “My aunt, uncle and cousins live in a Denver suburb, too. Highlands- Highlands something?”

“Highlands Ranch?” asked the woman.

“Yes! That’s it!”

They asked me for my family’s names. Turned out they were next-door-neighbors. Really.

Personal Stories: It’s a Small World

What stories do you have about it being a small world? How can you use these real-world coincidences to enhance your story or challenge your character? How would he feel if, 500 miles from home, he runs into his high school nemesis? Or she runs into her high school boyfriend? Or he  ran into a former boss, years later. Or she ran into the guy who teased her mercilessly and he doesn’t recognize her?  Or he runs into the first grade teacher he had a crush on?

How do they act? What do they do? If nothing else, what does this tell you about your character?

The World: Growing Smaller

The internet and social media are making the world much smaller. We can easily “meet” people from different cultures  and find people who have a different way of living. We can interact with people from all around the world with  just a few clicks of the button? What does that mean for you as an author? What does it mean as you write? How does being “global” affect you?

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  1. It’s an interesting concept and of course it’s at the heart of the ‘six degrees of separation’ game. everyone is connected. i like it going all the way back to the john donne poem about all of us being parts of the main rather than separate islands in the stream.

    i’ve incorporated this into my writing and it makes the writing more fun. most of my erotic stories of adult romance and heartbreak take place in northeast Florida called The First Coast. Virtually every story and novel features characters who’ve appeared in other places or have been the central characters of their own stories.

    as an example, heartbroken prosecutor bill maitland from ‘when we were married – the long fall’ is taking a cruise in 2005 to get away from his marital problems when he runs into an insurance agent, dan jenkins and his new wife. Jenkins plays an important role in Maitland’s story and a few years later he’s the subject of his own story, “The Dream Wife.”

    Maitland also runs into an unhappy young wife whose husband is obviously running around on her and befriends her. She doesn’t appear again in maitland’s series of novels, but she pops up again as the love interest of maitland’s best friend and sometimes attorney and sometimes antagonist in court, Lew Walters, four years later in Walter’s story, which actually launches in ‘when we were married.’

    Both Maitland and Walters and a lot of other characters in other stories wander in and out of O’Brien’s Bar, in Jacksonville, owned and operated by 60-ish former pro boxer O’Brien. He’ll have his own story someday.

    The bar plays an important part in the story of Giovanni Palpatino, whose wife has left him but is still on his auto insurance policy because he can’t bear to kick her off. Palpatino is dragged kicking and screaming into ANOTHER unhappy love affair – he can’t catch a break – which starts in the bar. And Palpatino is a supporting character in “Dear Jane,” the story of a Medical Corpsman who loses his fiancee to an old rival while serving in Irag in 2009.

    I don’t know how much this adds to the enjoyment of readers because I’m not sure many other people love this idea of our interconnected lives, but I enjoy the heck out of it. Which is, of course, the bottom line. If you don’t enjoy your writing, why would you except anyone else to?

    • Robin says:


      It really is the 6-Degrees of separation. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? And you’re right. If we don’t enjoy what we’re writing, there’s no reason to expect anyone else to enjoy it. 🙂

  2. Hi Daniel,
    Wow, you have such an imagination! I love how your character’s lives interact and flow together. You are so right–if we don’t enjoy what we’re doing, why do it? I love your passion. I can hear it. My guess is that it comes through in your stories, too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Daniel Quentin Steele says:

      Ms. St. Germaine:

      thanx for the kind comments. love the name. some writers were meant to be writers, just because of their names.

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