Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Maintain Consistency

Consistency is a big part of any story, if you are not consistent then people are going to quickly get fed up with your story as it becomes harder and harder to relate things.

A lot of people might point to George Lucas when thinking of examples of inconsistency.  However, George's arbitrary decision to change some things in the Star Wars universe is not really a very major example of this situation.

A much better example is Heroes, the TV show that everybody loved on the first season and which got progressively less buyable from the second season onward.  It became quickly apparent that they were tacking on consequences and ramifications to the powers as time went on. I could go on forever with the number of times they suddenly up and decided to add something without regard to previous developments.

In fact, TV Tropes has already done it for me.

So I will go on.

If you are not consistent, then you are continually pulling the rug out from under your readers.  They will eventually get fed up with being pushed around and given no clear guidelines as to what they can or cannot expect.

This doesn't mean that you can't have some inconsistancy, however, any inconsistancy has to have it's own consistancy.  There has to be a reason that the inconsistancy exists and preferably, someone in the story should comment on it to confirm to the reader that, yes, something is not right here.  You do not need to explain the reason for the inconsistancy, which gets into something I'll write later, but you yourself need to understand that it is there.

A good example of this is Lucretia from Bystander.  Her levels of strength and toughness have so far appeared to be what my brother described as "as high as she needs it to be."  In fact, what she does in Shake Ups doesn't work with pure strength regardless of how strong she is.

Robles comments on the fact that things don't add up.  Lucretia herself, upon listening to the news on the radio is confused as to how she accomplished that.  A certain person gets so freaked out over the implications of what Lucretia is that they abandon all reason and logic and simple goes on a berserk attempt to kill her.

All three of those tell the reader that there's something funky about Lucretia and thus makes her inconsistant level of power a consistant part of the world setting.  They won't be uncomfortable when, in one scene, Lucretia is getting a black eye from gun fire and, in the next scene, surviving something that might be worthy of Nanoha Takamichi.

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