Wednesday, August 8, 2012

08/08/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Good day everyone, I hope your week is treating you well! I'm still adjusting to this new schedule, so it has been a bit slow going to me, but I'll work through it. I'm happy to be able to work again; it's great not to have to worry so much about expenses, even if my dreams don't necessarily want to agree. For now though I will keep going, since there is much to work on!

I wanted to talk about something that was brought up with me as a passing comment, but it honestly didn't cross my mind until that moment. When you're writing a series, you need to go back and read previous stories to make sure everything is cohesive in the plot. That means checking for continuity errors, location/organization/people names, and other such things. This is something I'm actually going to be starting today, but it feels a little silly I hadn't thought of it until it was pointed out to me.

Any series you write, even if it's just a two book collection consisting of the initial story and a prequel/sequel you need to make sure to check and make sure everything makes sense. Now admittedly you won't be able to do this until the prequel/sequel is done, since you're not going to be 100%  certain what references are going to be made at that point. Frankly I think this step gets over-looked (since I honestly haven't seen anyone actually talk about it before) because when you get to that point there is a lot of emphasis on editing for the most recent project. This is technically part of editing though, and you need to make sure that everything flows just right.

Something else I have realized about this step is that it's going to be important how you handle any possible continuity errors. It could be something small like a mention of where a person was, maybe it was assumed they were in a room with all the characters in one story, but in another you mention them walking in to join everyone halfway through the conversation. Since you're looking at your initial work, you have the option, and this is going to sound weird, to make the change in that version and not the new one. Authors put out new/revised editions all the time, so you shouldn't feel hesitant to do one yourself, especially if any changes you make actually improve the overall story.

Now remember, this step is going to feel like you're going over and editing your first story all over again, which you kind of are, however what you're looking for are not spelling and grammar errors (though if you find them, you may want to take care of those) you're simply looking to make sure things make sense. I've never seen a prequel/sequel in any form that doesn't reference the original in some way; this is why cameos exist. If you write a prequel/sequel without mention of previous works in some way, shape, or form, it's not going to feel like the same world. The references are the real reason you're going back and reading the original work; you want to make sure they're accurate.

The easiest way I believe to do this is to get the piece printed out. If you try to focus on it electronically you are actually limiting yourself and putting fate in the hands of machines. While everyone does rely on computer and such a lot more than some people would like to admit, telling yourself that you're only going to check the revisions on your computer means you are going to always remember where your place was by either keeping the file open to the page at all times, or by having a magical memory. The problem with this that you likely aren't going to work on it every single day of the week, which means there is time for you to forget where you were. Also computers tend to want to update by themselves to make sure they're running properly, meaning the file will close and you'll loose your place that way. This is why I recommend printing it out, and it also lets you see for yourself where you're making the revisions. Most office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot offer printing services, so I also recommend utilizing them to print out your documents. I've fought and lost with too many printers to deal with that myself again.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope the rest of the week sees you well. I will be back on Friday for my normal review day, so please remember to stop by and tell your friends about it. Until then, have a great rest of your week!

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