Continuity

Thus far, I’ve written 16,178 words in the novel entitled, Resuscitation, the sequel to They Never Die Quietly. I try to average 1,000 words a day, but am often distracted by a number of things. No matter how detailed a novelist’s outline, as you write and the story begins to take shape, new ideas and plot twists pop into your head. And more often than not, these fresh ideas enrich the story or create more dramatic tension. But there is a price to pay for these modifications. 

When you add a scene or flashback or plot twist, it often requires that you go back to a prior chapter and change something that is not consistent with the new twist. This is, of course, a tedious but crucial process. You can’t tell the reader that a victim died of gunshot wounds on page 37, and then claim that the same person died of strangulation on page 162. 

Needless to say, continuity is critical; it lends credibility to the story.  The reader will catch the author every time he makes a technical error; even when that error is relatively inconsequential. I’ve had my readers call me out on some of the most obscure things. So if you’re going to write fiction in a world of astute readers, you’d better be sure you do your homework.

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