Do you attempt to keep a consistent set of rules for supernatural elements across your works?

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Nether

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Obviously this would be an issue in a shared setting, but more generally do you try maintain the same abilities and limits for supernatural elements in your works? And does it bother you when an author or other creator doesn't stick to a set of rules across his works?

I ask partly because I'm trying to figure out how consistently I want to handle certain elements, but also because that was one of the things that really drove me crazy about Netflix's "Haunting" shows (Hill House & Bly Manor).
 

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Nope and nope. Unless it's the same setting/world. Otherwise, each setting is unique and doesn't need to conform to any other setting.

I kinda get bored if an author keeps rehashing the same world, just filing off the serial numbers and painting the chassis a different colour. If I've read it once, I don't want to read it again.
 
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frimble3

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As a reader, I would be put right off if you wrote several books in the same universe, (characters, setting, etc) and the rules were always different. Unless, perhaps, it was explained beforehand? They are monsterhunters, they go to different cultural groups or countries, and in each place or belief system the rules are different. They may or may not be prepared, but at least they go in knowing things will be different.
No "It's a vampire, throw garlic at it! Aaargh, it's eating the garlic! This cannot be!"

If the stories are standalones, I'm fine with each haunted house being a whole new game.
 

The Second Moon

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I personally think that if the "rules of the supernatural" are the same in different series then either the writer ran out of orignal ideas or their two works are secretly linked.
 
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Calla Lily

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As a reader, I would be put right off if you wrote several books in the same universe, (characters, setting, etc) and the rules were always different. Unless, perhaps, it was explained beforehand? They are monsterhunters, they go to different cultural groups or countries, and in each place or belief system the rules are different. They may or may not be prepared, but at least they go in knowing things will be different.
No "It's a vampire, throw garlic at it! Aaargh, it's eating the garlic! This cannot be!"

If the stories are standalones, I'm fine with each haunted house being a whole new game.
Reminds me of the original Fright Night: Roddy McDowall holds a silver crucifix in Chris Sarandon's face. Sarandon grabs it and nothing happens. McDowall is flabbergasted. Then Sarandon says 'You have to have faith for this to work on me.'

Supernatural critters and hunters in my books have some different rules and abilities: series keep to their set of rules. Standalones get their own rules.
 

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I think if the rules were the same throughout different works, I'd get bored of the same thing.
 

Maryn

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For me, it depends on whether the works are set in the same world. Whether it's the same time and place, some of the same characters, or completely different, the rules of magic, of physics, of the supernatural, should not change.

But if you set each work in its own world, there's no reason for consistency.

I've very much enjoyed Robin Hobb's multiple trilogies set in the same world but from very different viewpoints and experiences. The nature of the supernatural gets clearer with each one.

Maryn, avid reader
 

JJNotAbrams

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Not really, no. The first thing that comes to my mind when dealing with supernatural elements when I'm writing is usually "how does this connect?" and then worry about the other stuff later.
 

Woollybear

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Obviously this would be an issue in a shared setting, but more generally do you try maintain the same abilities and limits for supernatural elements in your works? And does it bother you when an author or other creator doesn't stick to a set of rules across his works?

I ask partly because I'm trying to figure out how consistently I want to handle certain elements, but also because that was one of the things that really drove me crazy about Netflix's "Haunting" shows (Hill House & Bly Manor).

I read your question to mean within a single world or series.

In my science fiction, I certainly try to justify why weirdly new aspects happen, and I try to hold fast to the underlying rules, yes, but I also try to add new usages... in the interest of growing the story. Example from real life: gene editing or cloning or some other science trick might be developed for one application, but people are creative enough to find new applications, and they have. Off-label drug use is another example. So in my sci-fi (which is soft-ish), I try to push the 'weird' further without breaking fundamental rules. But that's not supernatural.

Yes, it bugs me when supernatural elements are inconsistent. Lots of rules changed over the course of Supernatural. At times, for fun, we brainstorm all the things Dean and Sam dropped or forgot or failed to use along the way. The show did try to narratively support the changes, but ... eh.
 

CMBright

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Obviously this would be an issue in a shared setting, but more generally do you try maintain the same abilities and limits for supernatural elements in your works? And does it bother you when an author or other creator doesn't stick to a set of rules across his works?

I ask partly because I'm trying to figure out how consistently I want to handle certain elements, but also because that was one of the things that really drove me crazy about Netflix's "Haunting" shows (Hill House & Bly Manor).

As long as the stories are set in different worlds, I don't expect them to share the same supernatural laws.

I can accept supernatural laws changing within a world as long as there is a logical reason for it.
 

Nether

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I read your question to mean within a single world or series.

Technically, the biggest thing to inspire my question was, as mentioned, the "Haunting" shows (which were part of a series). However, more broadly, anything an author sets taking place on a contemporary Earth kinda just creates that expectation in my mind, where I kinda expect some connections by virtue of it happening on Earth in the same time period (unless it does something really crazy with the rest of the continuity)

Yes, it bugs me when supernatural elements are inconsistent. Lots of rules changed over the course of Supernatural. At times, for fun, we brainstorm all the things Dean and Sam dropped or forgot or failed to use along the way. The show did try to narratively support the changes, but ... eh.

tbh, the continuity issues in Supernatural drove me insane, but it was a long-running series where I don't believe there was a consistent showrunner (or, at least, he didn't have a heavy enough hand) and they brought in non-fans to write for it. I'm sure even the actors probably flagged some issues.

And it's not just even the rules being handled badly, they would just contradict characters' past histories in very visible ways. (That said, I still enjoyed the show.)
 
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llyralen

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Within one created world, the word “attempt” works for mine.
 

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