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Consequences & Familiarity

damehelsing at 12:00AM, Sept. 19, 2021
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How many of you write serious/drama filled stories? Or even characters that truly suffer consequences?

I think it’s often that we, as creators and almost like parents, don’t want our kids/creations to suffer terrible consequences, but I think that’s one of the reasons that makes characters so interesting and relatable. Some of the best stories I read have situations that got terribly messy for the protagonist because of a decision they made.

Personally, it is just thrilling to watch a protagonist make a poor choice in life.
And it’s kind of exciting writing your protagonist making poor choices in life and then writing out the consequence of said choice.

(Or maybe I’m just absolutely horrible to my characters and I indulge in works where I can feel better about my own poor choices. Who knows?)

I really feel like watching characters fall and suffer because of it is great because it reminds us that they are human. There are consequences to their actions and to get off scot-free is unrealistic. Sure, there are times in life where we can make a bad choice and get away with it buuut that doesn’t always happen, and to assume that because a protagonist is a protagonist means they get a pass is a bad move.

It’s really important to include human-like scenarios into your story, it helps give the readers a connection, could be small or big, but we recognize that this character is relatable. There is a familiarity in this story, maybe whatever happened is completely different than what happened to the reader but the fact there is a consequence is where the bonding happens.

Often you will see two characters bond over loss, poor choices, trying to be a better person, etc. This totally happens with readers as well. Some of us, not necessarily all of us, do suffer consequences from actions we’ve made and we try to grow from it and seeing that happen with a protagonist, helps us bond with them. “Having a bad time but trying your best? I feel you bud.”
But some times, seeing characters take a fall and act upon that fall in a negative way helps us too. A lot of us are told to be a bigger person, and sure, we could be, but some times that’s not what we want because the hurt is just too much, so seeing a character fight back and fight through something, can help our inner demons bond with them and therefor, there is still a bond being created between us and the protagonist, because we know that if we were in their shoes, we would absolutely be doing the same thing.
Honestly, a perfect example is John Wick. If I had the skills he had and someone killed my dog, you bet your ass I'm coming for them and wreaking havoc while I do so.

This isn’t an article saying you should write consequences for the poor choices your character made, I mean, you kind of should, but also it would absolutely catch the attention of a reader like me.
This also isn’t an article saying you should make your character be or not be a bigger person, that really depends on the type of character and what kind of “growth” they want in their life.
I like protagonists that act and seek revenge, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, maybe not even yours, but… is it the character’s?
I think that’s one of the reasons I’m not really fond of the whole “superhero code” where it’s “no killing” because I just know I’m an eye for an eye kind of person… Of course you want to instill good morals onto people but uhhh, how long is someone willingly going to let a murderer live to only end up murdering more people because of your “good morals”?? That, in a way is a consequence of a superhero’s choice to let a murderous villain live. But it really sucks, and it’s annoying, especially if it’s on repeat. Which it always is.

Anyway, how do you like seeing consequences play out? Do you enjoy it when a character suffers because of a poor choice? Are you sick like me where you like to see people act with a vengeance? Do you feel a bond form with said character because of the above? Do you enjoy writing this type of content? Let me knowwww.

comment

anonymous?

hushicho at 1:15AM, Sept. 21, 2021

Stuff and nonsense, I think. If I wanted it to be a chronicle of people suffering excessively, I'd write non-fiction. While there are consequences for actions in my work, and plenty of work I enjoy, it has to be interesting action and satisfying consequences. Just throwing in "hey look, consequences!" doesn't make something better, more believable, or more enjoyable for anyone, necessarily. It's still a frequent and widespread mistake to confuse realism with verisimilitude.

Tantz_Aerine at 10:30PM, Sept. 19, 2021

Consequences for miles over at my comic. XD I don't often enjoy it because good people suffer when they shouldn't, but it wouldn't be right if they could defy cause and effect like the roadrunner.

TheJagged at 12:36PM, Sept. 19, 2021

I'm definitely guilty of making my characters suffer. I've been told so by readers... I'm not a proponent of pointless suffering though, more in a "you brought this on yourself" way. Shouldn't have agitated that mafia boss, oops now you're one thumb short. Serves ya right, honestly. As far as revenge stories go, tends to be my least favorite motivation for a protagonist. At least the long con sorta vengeance. It's a very boring and predictable plotline that usually plays out the same. Everybody suffers, a lot of people who didn't even do anything suffer, the villains die a horrible death and/or fate worse than death, and the protagonist is a broken wreck or also dead. Not much room for character growth. I don't think i've ever seen a MC abandon the vengeance quest in the middle of the story to do something more productive with his life.

bravo1102 at 4:46AM, Sept. 19, 2021

Stinky will happen and stuff will blow up in your face, so improvise, overcome and adapt. Fuck it, drive on. Sometimes the big achievement is just surviving, let alone learning a lesson. And often things will happen that totally change you and you won't have a say in it at all. It's the stuff of what dreams and nightmares are made of.

usedbooks at 4:37AM, Sept. 19, 2021

I always write ensemble cast stories because I get bored following around a single main character. Ensembles are great because there are several key characters each with their own personal ethics (or lack of) and reactions. One might be an unwavering optimist, kind to a literal fault while another is a hot-headed vengeful SOB. If they work together, the protagonists can butt heads on a course of action. The chosen course can fail. The character performing the action might suffer consequences -- or it might be another protagonist takes the hit for someone else's decision. Used Books is episodic. My characters and world change with every arc. If there is no change, then the arc has no meaning, no purpose. If they get hurt, they stay hurt for a while, sometimes a permanent change. Sometimes the plot does irreversible damage. Sometimes I didn't even plan it that way, but the nature of the world and characters moved the story to that natural outcome.

MOrgan at 2:37AM, Sept. 19, 2021

I normally do silly sex jokes, but I had an idea that I initially rejected because I knew it would have negative consequences, but the more I thought about it the more I knew it was a good story. One of my readers actually said, "Wow! Never figured you'd be the type to write a sad story." which I took as a compliment. :-)

Andreas_Helixfinger at 2:24AM, Sept. 19, 2021

To me, that's what good noir should be all about. Learning how to love in an unlovable world.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 2:08AM, Sept. 19, 2021

Her failing to live up to this life choice was to show her and the reader that she can't change who she fundamentally is as little as any of us can. We all have been victims and perpetrators of things in the past, and we may try to absolve ourselves from that somehow, but in the end all we can do is to accept it, accept who we really are and figure out how to live with it. In the next chapter coming up, that is exactly what Molly's next step is going to be. She is set up to be the anti-heroine who tries to do the right thing, but doesn't always succeed. She will stoop to things like vengeance, deception, spite and from time to time even outright callousness, and she will face painful consequences for some of her actions. But she tries to do good. That's the point. She tries, she endures and she is always learning. The whole series will be Molly facing her innermost darkness, coming out on the other side, learning how to love herself as she really is and in turn love the world as it is

Andreas_Helixfinger at 1:44AM, Sept. 19, 2021

Just lookin' at my main dame Molly Lusc reading this. Molly is at her core a danger-seeker, a temptress and a thief. She's had a habit of getting people hurt, possibly even killed. Traits I think makes her the femme fatale the comic brands her as, while also having a strong sense of empathy, a good sense of humour and a sharp intelligence. Her first story we see in the comic, getting married, doing her best to live the ideal suburban upper-middle class lifestyle with her husband Nico was to show that she was trying to change her ways, thinking that if she made this life choice she would absolve herself of her past, both as a victim and a perpetrator. But she ended up still being her old self and the good, settled wife part turned into an act that she played so that her husband could still be happy. She could have just told him the truth from the start, divorced him and moved on, but she didn't, her husband has now suffered tremendously for it. She made things worse, not better.


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