Monday, October 27, 2014
5 Tips To Keep Your Writing Consistent
I've been working on the sequel to my debut novel, Sweet Dreams, and in doing so, my outline has become much more complex. I have to keep track of my main characters and my secondary characters, as well as my time line. When writing a sequel, it's important to make absolutely sure you have total recall of the timeline and characters from the first novel.
I am about 2/3 done with my sequel and feeling very good about it. But as I was going to sleep the other night, after an evening of writing, socializing on Facebook and Twitter, and scrolling through pictures on Pinterest, a picture that I pinned on my WIP board for one of my secondary characters came rushing back to mind. I sat up in bed and realized that I had completely forgotten about an important character I introduced in the very beginning of my sequel. Ah schnookies!
There's a reason for the character, he has his own story line that runs parallel to the main story, and I completely forgot about him. I left him behind, not to be heard from again. Oops.
Well, obviously I missed a few important points in my outline, that need to be fixed immediately. Here are some tips to keep your writing consistent.
1. Outline- It's so important to outline in order to keep your plot organized. It's okay to make revisions as you write, but the outline will keep you on track. If you are a panster, and can't fathom creating an outline before writing, make sure as you write, you create your outline of the plot so far, so you can keep track of the plot and events. That way you can go back and reference what has happened in your story without having to read the whole thing from beginning to end.
2. Cast of Characters- Keep a document or list of all your characters and how they are related to each other. It will help you keep the relationships straight and keep you from forgetting anyone.
3. Keep a Timeline- It's important to know the timeline of when your story takes place, not only for setting, but for the plot. For example, you don't want your characters enjoying a hot day at the beach, when compared to the elapsed time of your story, it should be the middle of winter. This also applies when keeping track of people ages. In real life, I may be able to turn 33 for several years in a row, but your characters will age.
4. Fact Check- Make sure you check your facts. This does not only apply to historical fiction. Is your story set in a real city? Make sure the streets and towns are geographically correct. If you are writing a scene that includes a reference to a real place, time or event, make sure to make notes to go back and fact check during the editing process, so that you don't have your characters walking 50 miles from one place to the other, when you really only wanted them to walk 5.
5. Beta Readers- Make sure you have at least 2-3 beta readers, they will help you search out those inconsistencies and keep your writing on track.
Now I need to follow my own advice, and go reinsert my missing character into the appropriate chapters.
What are your tips to keep your writing consistent? Do you have a tips you can share? I would love to hear them.
Don't forget to attend the Cover Reveal Bash on November 4th on Facebook, for the Writing Wenches Holiday Anthology, Unwrapping Love. My holiday short, Angels in Disguise, is one of the romances featured in this amazing collection.
Stalk me online at: www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com