Did you play that game as a child? Perhaps you still do. There are two versions, one words, the other pictures*. I think the first version I remember was the wordy one. It’s a story writing game, I checked it out, and Wikipedia describes twelve steps. In my memory it’s much shorter and I never recall playing the final step ‘and the world said’ . But the phrase ‘and the consequence was’ definitely sticks in my head.

I got to think about consequences because of two recent crime dramas, which had very different approaches to it. The first I finished watching last night, we’d stuck with it even while finding it increasingly unsatisfying. One of those where you think ‘just do the sensible thing’, except of course, then there wouldn’t be a story. As the plot twisted and turned, the protagonists became ever more trapped by their lies, until. Well until quite a ludicrous ending. The guilty person was allowed to avoid arrest because of the sacrifice of another, who confessed(falsely) and took the blame.

You’ll see I didn’t say avoid arrest and punishment, because if anything remotely like the plot device happened in real life, then I’m pretty sure the murderer would be living with the consequences for the rest of their life. As would all the other characters who let it happen. But there was no obvious recognition of that.

By contrast the other drama, a series on radio, depicted the consequences of a crime, for both the victims and the perpetrator. It was much more satisfying, and though there was ‘a do the sensible thing’ moment too, it was believable because of the manipulative behaviour of the aggressor. Its narrator is a forensic psychiatrist and it’s inspired by a real life counter part. This story too ended without the conviction of the guilty person**(s***) but with a feeling that everyone left behind would face the consequences for possibly the rest of their lives.

In my current work in progress I’ve already written the consequences of a character’s actions. I’ve seen the fall out, and know what they did (even if they’re not totally sure), I know what their immediate intentions were . But what I don’t know is how much they planned it all****, in advance.

Suppose there’s only one way to find out….

Until next time,

Marina xx

not at all exquisite

*the picture version is sometimes called Exquisite Corpse, I learned this name much later.

**they died.

***they didn’t

****not a murder, I struggle too much with plot to write crime.

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