Do consequences have to be bad? Can they change later?

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Jelzmar

Do consequences have to be bad? Can they change later?

Postby Jelzmar » Apr 05, 2012 1:10 pm

Does the consequence have to be bad?

In my story my MC doesn't want to get married, because of a preconception in her society. Could the consequence (for all my characters) be obtaining love? That is normally considered a good thing (and in the end of the story it is, but not when it originally happens, since it is essential to their life style to not be in romantic relationships).

But, outside of that situation. Do the consequences in a story have to be bad?

Graham
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Re: Do consequences have to be bad? Can they change later?

Postby Graham » Apr 05, 2012 9:12 pm

No, the consequence in a story does not have to be bad. The Goal could be seen as "bad" and the Consequence would then be seen as "good".

In many James Bond films it is the villain who is the protagonist and is for the Goal. James Bond is trying to stop the villain, and is against the goal, so James Bond is the antagonist. Since James Bond is the Main Character, the audience sees the Goal as "bad", and the Consequence as "good".

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Re: Do consequences have to be bad? Can they change later?

Postby Chris Huntley » Apr 10, 2012 9:07 am

Generally speaking, consequences are the "...OR ELSE...," which implies that they are bad for the protagonist and all those attempting to achieve the story goal. So long as you see the consequence as the stick to the story goal's carrot, it will seem unappealing or worse.

I recommend making the consequence something truly undesirable, which in turn means the story goal should be desirable enough to risk the consequences. Otherwise, what's the risk in going for the goal? No risk, no resistance to achieving the goal = low or no conflict. BORING.

One can mitigate the positive and negative aspects of the Story Goal and Story Consequences by using Costs and Dividends. Costs are the unexpected or necessary negatives that partially (or fully) offset the positives of the Story Goal. Dividends are the unexpected or side benefits that partially (or fully) offset the negatives of the Story Consequences.

Costs and Dividends help avoid having the goal and consequences seem so black and white.
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Jelzmar

Re: Do consequences have to be bad? Can they change later?

Postby Jelzmar » Apr 10, 2012 10:28 pm

Consequences are potential and don't have to actually happen. I was thinking of them too much like costs, I think. It isn't really the love that is the consequence. It's the loss of it after gaining. So since my consequence is obtaining, my mind jumped to love because that is what everyone obtains in my story. But what they are actually afraid of would be heartache. That is why they don't get into relationships.

Just the word consequence told me that is should be a negative thing. Obtaining seems like a positive to me, even though I know there are plenty of bad things people could obtain. I just kept thinking 'love is a good thing' and forgot about all the heartache I'm putting them through.

Thanks for the quick reply.

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Re: Do consequences have to be bad? Can they change later?

Postby Contagionist » May 01, 2013 7:43 am

Remember that the goal of Obtaining could mean gaining something or losing something. It's just a net change in things obtained.


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