There must be consequences.

Occasionally (or more than occasionally), characters are going to make questionable decisions. This is fine, since characters are only human.

What isn’t okay is when characters make questionable decisions that had no consequences attached to them.

If a character is going to do something like, say, unintentionally inciting a rebellion against an authoritarian government, she needs to face the consequences of this. It would’ve been unrealistic if Katniss had just skipped back to District 12 and lived the rest of her life in complete and utter bliss after pulling that stunt with the berries. Things like this just don’t happen in real life, and if you want a surefire way to make sure people don’t like your characters, this is it.

If your character is going to make the government look dumb on live national television, and the government is one that doesn’t take kindly to looking dumb, there need to be consequences. If your character is going to make enemies by playing people against each other, eventually this is probably going to come back and bite your character in the butt.

And if you want me to like your character, your character can’t be surprised if she finds herself facing consequences. She doesn’t get to pull shenanigans like trying to restructure a country’s social system on live television and then be surprised when the king isn’t very impressed with this idea and tries to get rid of her.

In real life, there are consequences for our actions. Our characters should face consequences for their actions, as well.

2 thoughts on “There must be consequences.

  1. Darcy says:

    Awesome post! You are totally right. I love books that delve into the aftereffects of things. Consequences and aftermath can sometimes become an even more interesting story than whatever sets them off.

  2. june h. says:

    I concur. And it’s the consequences that the character’s face that makes the story so much more interesting too!

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