Sweatin’ the Small Stuff: Details and Continuity

I don’t know what it is about the beginning of the month, but I never seem to be able to keep up with my regular posting schedule until at least the middle.  So sorry this post is a little late!  (Although that doesn’t make it any less interesting!) (Hopefully!)

So, for the first time since I started writing Life of Gaia I went back and did a bit of editing today.  I have some major plot stuff, resulting from decisions I made recently, that I didn’t even touch yet, but I just did some cosmetic stuff.  Spelling, grammar, sentence structure, fixed the tenses, etc.  This is mostly because I have decided to attend the Creative Writer’s Club meeting at my school to get some pre-beta feedback, and I didn’t want to be tripping all over my sloppy draft-writing while I was reading it aloud.

Something came to my mind while I was dealing with that, which is… I’m pretty terrible at continuity.  Like, I really just get plain lazy with it.  In just the first couple of chapters, people have changed name spelling, hair color, eye color, build, title, clothing… I don’t know.  You name it, it has changed at least once throughout the course of my novel.  The obvious fix would be to actually FIGURE OUT what my characters look like, then keep that at hand so that every time I want to describe someone’s eyes, they don’t go from blue to hazel to brown and back again.

They say the Devil is in the details, and I’m sort of getting that.  I know that when I read things, I tend to notice little things like that.  Especially at the beginning, when I’m trying to get an idea of what a character looks like.  And sometimes it can just be a matter of setting the scene properly.  If you need something to be someplace at one part of the book, but it’s not there before or after, well… That’s just sloppy writing/editing.

If you’re like me and you try to write without looking back, that’s okay.  If you’re fudging the little things because you’re in the zone and can’t be bothered to look them up, that’s fine too.  Just remember that there will come a day, probably during editing, where you will curse your own name as you sift through your whole novel with a fine-tooth comb trying to make sure that all the spellings are the same and everyone’s physical features are continuous.

Writing is kind of like a huge juggling act.  You’re juggling the plot, the setting, the characters, and all of the little things in-between.  All of the balls are constantly moving in the background, and some times you have to decide when to do a fancy trick with one of them.  Which of the balls does the reader need to see when?  And if they don’t see one for awhile, that can almost be as noticeable as one that is seen too much.  You’ll get the rhythm of it eventually (at least I hope so!) but it does take, like everything else, a lot of practicing.  Just like juggling.  (Which is crazy.  I’m jealous of anyone who can actually juggle.  Especially when whatever you’re juggling is on fire.)

I couldn’t find another picture I liked to stick in here, so instead I put in a picture of pugs. You’re welcome.

Good luck with the noveling gang!

Celeste

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2 thoughts on “Sweatin’ the Small Stuff: Details and Continuity

  1. I can be a little obsessive when it comes to character appearance. When I was younger, before I got into writing the story I’d do up character profiles listing everything about their appearance, background (that I knew of at that point), etc. I don’t usually do that any more, not on paper at least, but I think the mental process is still there, as I don’t generally get mixed up with that sort of thing. What’s killing me right now is getting the timeline right when action takes place with different people in different places … about to try drawing up a full timeline. Wish me luck 😦

    • I wish you all of the luck in the world, ha ha! Timeline can be super-tricky, as another friend of mine might tell you. I was constantly being a stickler, a wrench in her plans–she would want things to happen, and then I would show up poking holes in her events, telling her they didn’t fit with the timeline. xD So I mean, hey, it’s really important! I’m going to do a post on this later, but have you considered sticky notes? Good for visual people who like to move events around. 🙂 And I used to do those detailed character sheets too! I guess since this project is so spur-of-the-moment, seat-of-my-pants that it has just been easier to forget. x); Bad me!

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