E17 – Consequence (video, show notes, transcript)
In this episode, Miss Catherine M.H. and V.E. Griffith have a short discussion about the third of the Three Cs in the Three Story Method and the Scene Rubric: Consequence.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
The Matrix (1999)
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Transcript at: https://revisionwizards.com/?p=2164
Miss Catherine M.H. 0:00
Welcome to the Revision Wizards Podcast. I’m Miss Catherine MH And with me today is my occultist co host VE Griffith. This is episode 17.
V.E. Griffith 0:08
Today we’re talking about the last big C in the Three Story Method, Consequence.
Miss Catherine M.H. 0:14
So what is consequence? Consequence is obviously, what results from the choice. But there’s more to it than just what happens next.
V.E. Griffith 0:24
A scene level consequence not only details what happens because of the choice the lead character made, but it also helps set up the conflict in the next scene.
Miss Catherine M.H. 0:34
So how does this play into the scene rubric? Well, I’m sure you understand that if you never have a consequence than that’s bad writing, the key thing to take away about consequence is that it’s not just about bad things, it can be good things too. With that said, we’re going to focus on the section good and excellent on the rubric, over to you, Oh, silly occultist.
V.E. Griffith 0:59
Thanks, a good consequence is one that the protagonist struggles to reach, but also surprises the reader. Depending on the genre, and where in the story you are, the outcome can be more or less surprising. But the reader’s surprise is what keeps them turning the page to find out what happens next.
Miss Catherine M.H. 1:17
So a great example of this is from The Hobbit, Bilbo is battling it out with Gollum, and they are trying to figure out the riddles. And he’s thinking and thinking, and he puts his hands in his pocket. And he asks a question, and then goes with the question. And so that is an example of a really good consequence where he is able to win, because he cheats and decided to cheat.
V.E. Griffith 1:45
An excellent consequence, not only surprises, but it also delights the reader, the outcome surprises the reader, but then they realize it was inevitable, and they should have seen it coming.
Miss Catherine M.H. 1:55
Yeah, so a really good example of this is the matrix. So it’s that moment where he’s taken the pills, and he is woken up and realizes that he’s been living in a virtual reality, and oh, my God, so that kind of a consequence of deciding to do something and take that leap led to an entire opening of a brand new world for him. So that is an example of an excellent consequence.
V.E. Griffith 2:26
Unless you’re intending to deliberately leave loose ends in your manuscript, every choice should have a consequence. But there are times when a consequence isn’t immediately visible, sometimes it’s a slow burn.
Miss Catherine M.H. 2:38
So think about the Wheel of Time for those of you who have maybe read it, and it is 14 books long . So some of those consequences don’t show up to later. One of them is from my favorite character, Mat. he learns about the person that he is supposed to marry in Book Three. And then later on, because he already knows this information. And I want to say it’s like books seven or eight, he stumbles into the marriage to the person that he’s supposed to have married.
V.E. Griffith 3:07
So on a story level, unless you’re deliberately leaving threads unresolved to drive the reader to the next volume, like Jordan did, and wheel have time over and over and over again, your consequence will probably be the shortest section of your book, sometimes no more than a few pages, but it needs to be there. Whether it’s a romance’s happily ever after a murder mystery’s Perry Mason moment, or a fantasy light defeat dark kind of resolution.
Miss Catherine M.H. 3:32
And like we mentioned, consequences are important. You can have small delays to build up the tension or to have a slow burn. And you can leave some unsolved to keep the reader going into your next book. But if you never close them up, then you’re just leaving plot holes that your reader will recognize. A big one that came for me, we’re definitely brownies during a romantic erotic scene, and they left the brownies in the oven. Nobody knows what happens to the brownies. But we all know as readers that they burned, those brownies were definitely burnt. Do you have any craft tips for coming up with good consequences?
V.E. Griffith 4:12
like coming up with choices create a lot of them, set yourself a task of coming up with 10 consequences that flow from the characters choice. The first two or three will be easy, but you’ll find the more you do, the more outlandish they become. At the same time, since they flow from the characters choice, they stay logically connected and in sequence, the more unexpected the consequence, at least within genre conventions, the better.
Miss Catherine M.H. 4:36
My tip for outliners is to write several different outcomes to pick the best one from it. If you’re pantsing then go with what with What shocks you. So if it’s shocking you then you know that you’re on the right track.
V.E. Griffith 4:51
And that’s basically all we’ve got for consequence today. If you’d like to support the show on Patreon you can find us at patreon.com/revisionwizards where we offer bonus content, personal updates, a new project that you haven’t heard about yet, or maybe you have, and, and all kinds of other goodies. You can find me individually at vegriffith.com.
Miss Catherine M.H. 5:17
And me at scribes-pen.com
V.E. Griffith 5:21
and thanks for listening today. We’ll see you next time.
Miss Catherine M.H. 5:24