If you haven’t heard of the Darwin Awards they are named in the “spirit of Charles Darwin, [and] commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species’ chances of long-term survival”.
The stories listed at the Darwin Awards web site demonstrate how many people don’t think through the consequences of their actions. Now, most of the time they don’t result in our death (just as well!), but the consequences can sometimes still be significant.
I recently got feedback on my manuscript that has made me question the consequences of my heroine’s actions. I had thought about the consequences in terms of moving the story forwards, and what it meant for my heroine. But when I was asked to think about how those actions might have affected other characters, I realised I hadn’t given it too much thought if the impact didn’t obviously affect the ability of my heroine to continue on her journey
I can see now I need to think about what my character does as a water droplet hitting a pond. As the droplet hits, the consequence of the impact matters most to my heroine, but as the water ripples outwards, others might be impacted, even slightly. And those impacts can affect my heroine – they can add depth to the story, show more layers to my characters and tighten my plot.
From now on I am going to think about the far reaching consequences of my heroine’s decisions. Hopefully my writing will be stronger for it.