Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Continuity

Continuity is important to novelists. It's jarring for a reader to find that the father is accidentally called by his son's name like I saw in a historical novel recently. Continuity errors creep in so easily, especially if the writer works across the entire manuscript instead of linearly. I've done it and I'm horrified when I catch those types of errors.

I've got a small spiral notebook that records all the names I've used and a brief description of who each character is, but still errors creep in because I can't remember when I've updated it. Sometimes a minor character shows up later in the book and a new, more apt name shows up with them.

What's your techniques for catching this type of error?
How do you keep up with all the people who populate your WIPs?
Do you have any suggestions for the rest of us, other than rereading closely?

8 comments:

  1. I, too, try to keep a sheet on who is called what and any personality or physical descriptions I use. Other than trying to keep that accurate and reading closely I don't know of a better way.

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    1. I guess I need to catch my list up when I read through next time. ; )

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  2. I do a character studies that I refer to when writing. Now hen writing sequels it's even more important for continuity.

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    1. Jo, you said it on sequels. My Cherry Hill books are sprouting and at sitting at 5 now. I've not done formal character studies, but I have done a few worksheets that promptly went into the files never to be see again. ; )

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  3. Lots of re-reads, and great beta readers--they're worth their weight in gold! :)

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    1. Yes, Lara, beta readers are wonderful!

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  4. Argh. I try to capture these on every reread but I really need to start keeping a "series bible" like your notebook...

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    1. That's one of the things I'm going to update when I'm rereading FRIENDLY FIRE. ; )

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