Monday Musings

5 Tips for Continuity Edits Pt 2

Hello all, sorry there was no second post last week. I had a few real life things come up in the form of an unexpected script and a large essay due. Now, we were talking about how to edit for continuity in your novels or short stories.

We talked about how using a spreadsheet can help to keep track of scenes, characters and dates. Then figuring out why there are discrepancies so that you can keep track of them. Finally, we talked about tracking characters.

I want to expand upon that. By tracking your characters in the form of interviews, knowing their background and their path for the story you can make sure that in one scene your character isn’t saying their favorite food is pizza and in the next is disgusted by the thought of tomatoes in general. I know that is an example that probably wouldn’t happen but I had to think of something to use as an example.

The fourth point about continuity edits is that with each change to the novel’s timeline, there needs to be a look at the entire novel/story. I know that seems like a lot of work but it is important to make sure that you haven’t changed something that could be essential to your plot.  It can be a long process to edit for continuity editing but it is well worth it to avoid errors similar to those in the Star Wars Universe. (I’m talking about where Luke says he remembers their mother and that she was beautiful and then Padme dies in childbirth.)

The fifth and last point, is that like all edits, remember that there is such a thing as too much. You don’t have to have a 100% accurate timeline. What I mean is, you don’t have to look up every fact, figure and tiny detail. Just don’t say that it takes five hours to drive from San Francisco to LA when it really takes almost twice that. (I know that from personal experience.) What you’re going for is the idea that a story has a timeline that has to be kept intact. You can’t have one scene take place in October and the next in September.

So, what do you all think? On Wednesday we will be talking about the ways that writing a script treatment for your novel can be helpful to you. ~ Jessica

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