Consistency YKTTW Discussion

(permanent link) added: 2010-05-28 09:42:35 sponsor: Dcoetzee (last reply: 2010-05-28 09:42:35)

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There are, roughly speaking, three kinds of consistency that a viewer expects from a story:

  • External Consistency: Consistency with the real world.
  • Genre Consistency: Consistency with other fictional works.
    • The fictional universe should behave like other works in its genre, unless specifically noted otherwise. Any fictional concepts, characters, or settings borrowed from other works should behave as they do in those works. For example, a dragon is generally expected to be a flying reptilian creature that breathes fire. If your work takes place in an Expanded Universe, you're generally expected to be consistent with Canon.
  • Internal Consistency: Consistency with itself.
    • Any rules, events, settings, or characters that have been established within the fictional work continue to exist and function as they did previously, unless otherwise indicated.

Consistency aids Willing Suspension of Disbelief, while violations of consistency are jolting and unexpected. The viewer would be quite surprised to learn that in your universe, Hitler was a circus performer, dragons are scared of fire, and that those two characters who previously knew each other no longer recognize each other. Generally, if a work is inconsistent, the viewer expects there to be a good reason for it.

Often, a feature in a work is consistent at one level and not at another; for example, maybe your vampires glitter, which is not genre consistent with other works featuring vampires, but as long as they always do that, it is internally consistent. If a work forgoes external consistency in favor of genre consistency, you have The Coconut Effect.

Related tropes:


External Consistency

Lack of External Consistency

Genre Consistency

Lack of Genre Consistency

Internal Consistency

Lack of Internal Consistency

No examples - this is just a descriptive Super Trope and index. Could use more related tropes. Rolling Updates in effect.

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