Every time I have a long enough break from school, I drive to visit my family over 500 miles away. That's a lot of driving, and it's given me a chance to develop very specific road-trip pet peeves. Two of the biggies are related to consistency, but at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The other problematic drivers are consistent when they shouldn't be. They go one speed—say, 65 mph in a 70 zone. The highway cuts through a small town, so the speed reduces significantly, maybe down to 45 mph. They keep going 65. Too slow when they should go fast, too fast when they should go slow.
Okay, time for a writing parallel—why not?
Driver #1 is like a writer not maintaining consistency within the plot or characters. Yes, characters grow and change, but not out of the blue, and not just because it's convenient for you. Don't make your readers slam on the brakes for no reason.
Driver #2 is like a writer plowing through the ms with the same level of tension throughout. There should be peaks and valleys. Sometimes the reader needs a relative breather. Don't blast through the scenic village at the same speed you cruise through the desert.
Now I'm off to check my ms for both varieties of consistency.
Any tips, tricks, or thoughts related to consistency ... in writing, life, or anywhere else?