Mental Health Monday–Unintended Consequences

For those of you who missed yesterday’s Ephemera post as part of Kendall Grey’s JUST BREATHE WORLD TOUR, click HERE to check out my reviews of her short story series and who I’d cast for the main characters in the JUST BREATHE series. 😉

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Shifting Pride is up for Sizzling Read of the Month! Please vote!

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A few weeks back, I entered the cover art for NEW PRIDE and SHIFTING PRIDE in the Houston Bay Area Romance Writers Association’s Judge A Book By Its Cover Contest. JABBIC is a fun way to share cover art and have readers vote on what attracts them to buy a book.

I’d totally appreciate some votes, if you’re so inclined!

Click HERE to go to the JABBIC website. Click START JUDGING, then select YOUNG ADULT, and rate each book based on if you’d buy it based on the cover (5) or if you don’t have interest in the cover (1). (There’s choices between too. 😉 )

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Now, to get to unintended consequences. I think about this concept often, particularly when I see outcomes that are in direct opposition to what was planned.

The biggest example that comes to mind is the flurry of gun control laws spreading across the United States. New York prides itself in having the strictest of all of them.

I’m certain the intention of these laws is to limit the access of firearms (particularly assault-type rifles) to “The Bad Guys.”

A good idea, yes?

BUT, as a result, more guns than ever are being purchased and more ammo than ever is flying off the shelves. Many gun retailers are getting cleaned out–they’re literally selling ALL of their stock and going on back order for guns and bullets.

I’d call this an unintended consequence.

I’ve personally seen several people (who have NEVER before wanted a gun or even thought about having a gun) become OBSESSED with owning a gun.


Another unintended consequence, I’d say.


Lemme repeat that:


Taking this post in a different direction (because this forum is for writing purposes only)…

Unintended consequences can have HUGE impacts.

What if we applied this concept to our writing?

How thrilling would it be to have a character do something that they think will work out for the good of others and then twist it, focusing on the unintended consequences. Wouldn’t that cause some conflict and tension? Maybe even a disaster?

It would be totally mean.


In NEW PRIDE, Richard joins up with a rogue pride. On the one hand, he needs a group of shifters for safety. On the other, the danger of allying with them quickly becomes obvious and potentially impacts everyone Richard cares about.

Have you guys seen unintended consequences in books that you’ve read?

13 comments on “Mental Health Monday–Unintended Consequences

  1. I do see unintended consequences (just like in real life) pop up for my characters.

    I entered my first cover in JABBIC a couple of years ago. My cover for The Waiting Booth got second place in the YA contest.

  2. You know what they say about good intentions…
    And I see unintended consequences in books and movies all the time.

  3. roguemutt says:

    The second book in my Scarlet Knight series (which comes out a week from Tuesday!) is largely about unintended consequences. That’s because it involves time travel where you frequently see unintended consequences, like that old Bradbury story “A Sound Like Thunder.”

  4. Leigh Moore says:

    oh, YEAH! That would be an awesome trick in writing. I usually try to twist things up when I’m writing, so great tip!

    and I LURV the cover for New Pride! I like them both, but NP’s my fave! Off to vote! Good luck!!! ❤

  5. Linda Gray says:

    Fantastic idea, Laura. That’s exactly the kind of thing that would not only create all that tension, but make the protagonist or other character who set the chain of events in motion more complicated and fully dimensional. Cool.

  6. karen walker says:

    I guess all we can really do is set our intentions the best we can and hope the consequences are intended. But unforeseen outcomes make for great reading, so I say we need to put those into our writing for sure.

  7. That’s the fun to write conflict, pal. I see this all the time in my novels and even my earlier readers. Unintended consequence. I do see it a lot in other books too. Sometimes I can spot it in stories I’m critting. The author didn’t really know it was there either. But I can see it. The reason I can notice it is because the story seems to veer off in another direction. Then I might mention the author needs to bring it to life. Really work it in.

    Great tips! Going to vote now. 🙂

  8. Unintended consequences are always good in a story. I think. Good luck in the JABBIC!

  9. So that’s what the JABBIC is about. I’ve seen it mention on the YARWA loop, but I didn’t read the posts.

    That does sound like a good idea for a way to increase conflict. Hopefully the gun owners don’t have unintended consequences that turn out to be deadly for a loved one.

  10. I see unintended consequences all the time. I love the surprises. Good luck!

  11. Ciara Knight says:

    I just finished reading a book that had this concept. It was a great read.
    I tried to vote, but I think the poll is closed. I’m so sorry. Email me next time. 🙂

  12. Sometimes it’s not even the characters who do something unintended. Sometimes a novel I’m writing takes an unintended twist, and then I grit my teeth and go with it. It usually turns out for the best.

  13. Jay Noel says:

    Life is full of unintended consequences! It’s a great way to inject realism, tension, and conflict in a story.

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