TNCOM, #3 & 4
3. How strange, it came to me then, are the patterns of human experience! The meaningless life lines that start out singly and so simply from here, from there, draw slowly toward one another over a period of time, until finally they come together, mesh, to form into a design that never could have been guessed at, foretold, by what had gone before. And the completed fabric is the sum of all the threads that have gone into it.
—Cornell Woolrich, The Black Angel (1943)
4. Life, on the larger scale, though full of effects which are the direct results of causes, is apparently plotless. It is too complex. There has never yet appeared in life a causal relationship involving even 80 incidents and 34 strands that can be as unified as one artificially created. And it is this artificial relationship, this purely fictional web-work plot, this bit of life twisted into a pattern mathematically and geometrically true, that fills the gaps in one's spirit which rebels at the looseness of life as it apparently is.
—Harry Stephen Keeler, The Mechanics (and Kinematics) of Web-Work Plot Construction (1928)