Monday Musings: 5 Tips for Continuity Edits Pt. 1

Monday Musings: 5 Tips for Continuity Edits Pt. 1

Right! Sorry there was no update last week for this blog. I’ve been under the weather for about a week now with the flu so while I posted two blog posts for last week as I usually work on them during the weekend, this weekend I was not able to work on them. And then at the end of the week my brain decided that a migraine would be a welcome addition to the collection of medical oddities for me this month. 

This week I’m going to talk about editing. In my creative writing class we’re doing a writing workshop and my piece is going first. I chose to use the first two chapters of my novel, which is approximately 11 pages of writing. Now, I wrote this novel over the course of about a year so there are portions that I wrote before I outlined and those that I wrote after I outlined my novel.

There were two different paths for my main antagonist in the frame of my story. In one he is the head of campus security and in the other he is a deputy for the sheriff’s department. Now, as I was compiling this piece for my creative writing class, I realized that I had him in two different roles: both as the head of security and as a deputy of the police force. Now, for ten pages that wasn’t much to edit, but for the entirety of my novel, that’s a lot to edit for continuity.

Now, aside from just sharing my novel with my creative writing class I am starting the process of editing and revising it now. The first step that I am taking along that path is going to be in the timeline and character continuity edits.

The first step, at least in my editing process is to create a spreadsheet. I don’t create anything too fancy, just a list by chapter that contains the places, dates, times and characters that go into each chapter so I can track everything and make sure that I’m not creating timelines that cross or that are conflicting.

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As you’ll notice here, the last two entries are in fact almost a month behind and are something that I nearly didn’t catch before I turned in my paper because of how I write, in bursts and not in linear progression. (Which I can do because I outline. So I know generally where I’m going and where I’ve been and I can cross of major scenes in the outline as I write and know what’s left to do.)

The second step is to figure out why there are discrepancies in the timeline. For me, it was that the scene in 24 Hour Fitness and the one that follows were written before the one in Johnstone Center and thus there was a time discrepancy. Now, in another life, that may have been okay, but as these scenes take place directly after, or are supposed to be directly after an attempted murder,  I need to first correct the timeline with the correct time-stamp in universe and make sure that there aren’t details that changed between writings.

The third step in this process is to track your characters. For that I use my character interviews. Now, in this case, the problem is that I have two profiles of David. In one he is campus security and in the other he is a Sheriff’s Deputy. So now I have another error that I have to track and correct throughout my novel.

That’s it for today and I’ll be putting the rest of this up on Wednesday for Writing Wednesdays. Let me know what you use for your continuity editing.~Jessica.

Top 5 Resources for Writers

Top 5 Resources for Writers

Hello and welcome to this week’s Monday Musings. I’ll be discussing my Top 10 Resources for writers this week. Everything from computer programs to books to websites. I’m not listing them in any particular order, just my top five resources. I will also say that I am not affiliated in any way with these products or people and am just listing the products that I find helpful in my writing life and as such, want to share.

  1. Writers DigestWriter’s Digest I’ve had a subscription to this magazine on and off since I was about 10 years old. The things that I love most about WD is their articles and tips for writers. Even though they run the same type of issues every year, I constantly find myself learning something from them and their magazine. The magazine also has monthly contests for writers, and a helpful breaking in section in every magazine featuring new writers in every issue. Writers Digest also publishes a list of writers resources every year that I highly recommend purchasing even if you don’t have a subscription to the magazine.
  2. The Creative Penn Website & Podcast– The Creative Penn website/podcast run by author Joanna Penn is one of my favorite writing resources. She gives great writing advice about her own journey to self publishing and interviews many writers and industry professionals in the Indy publishing industry. Her website offers links to her books, courses, free information, videos, social media and more for writers to connect to.
  3. The Self Publishing PodcastSPP The self publishing podcast, hosted by Johhny B Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright is published weekly and talks about trends in self publishing. Each week the three successful authors share their take on what’s going on and interview others in the industry. They also talk about how to be more productive as a writer, using tools to advance your writing, and systems to write faster.
  4. ScrivenerScrivener  A writing software that I use on my computer to write my novels. I am so glad that I invested in it. It has a feature that I love, called the binder where you can organize everything in one place and see it for your novel. Screen-Shot-2013-12-18-at-8.43.37-AM-e1387390545224.png                                         It allows for you to organize your scenes, move them around, even keep old drafts and restore them to see where your writing has been and how it’s changed so you can restore old changes to it. It is about $40, so it’s a bit of an investment but it does export directly to Kindle format so you can write and theorectically have a properly formatted book however, I have heard that there have been some problems with that function as of late. I don’t know if that will continue to be the case or if it has been fixed yet.
  5. HelpingWritersBecomeAuthors.comHelping Writers Become Authors K.M. Weiland runs this site and podcast. It is both a blog and a podcast that offers articles about everything from story structure to character building. Her podcast takes the articles on her blog and expounds upon them, giving deeper insight and information on them.

Top 5 Tips for Writing LGBT Characters

Top 5 Tips for Writing LGBT Characters

In the modern world there is an entire subset of book and publications for the LGBT community. As the topic grows in the public eye, more and more books and other forms of media are featuring LGBT characters. In order to avoid stiff, stereotypical characters it is vital for writers to know what they are doing when it comes to these characters. Being an active member of this community, I have insight into writing better LGBT characters than those used as a simple stereotype.

1. Most LGBT people feel the need to hide their LGBT identity. At least from some facets of their lives. There is still a large stigma around being a member of LGBT community and it is for our own safety that we hide our identity.

2. Just because someone is a gay or lesbian character does not mean that they have to follow all of the stereotypes of being gay or lesbian. Not every gay man is flamboyant, not every lesbian woman dresses like a man, not every bisexual person is greedy and going to cheat on you. No gay man is always super fabulous, has a nice house and wants to be your gay bff all the time.

3. DO NOT KILL OFF A LESBIAN OR GAY CHARACTER ONCE THEY REALIZE THEY ARE GAY/LESBIAN/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER. This has become way too common of a trope on TV shows like The 100.  (Spoiler Alert for Season 3). Right after Clark and Lexa consummate their relationship, Lexa dies. This trope is not only tired and old but a complete insult to those in the LGBT community.

4. Diversity! Not every gay or lesbian charactacter has to be a white character. Intersectionality, or having a character be say gay and Hispanic can prove an excellent way to add depth to them. No two peoples sittuations are the same.

5. Being gay is not going to be the entirety  of this persons story unless it is a coming out story. That is a specific kind of narrative, similar to a coming of age story and follows a similar structure to those. If the story is not about that, being an LGBT character is a part of an interesting character, but not their entire personality. 
So, these are my top five tips for writing LGBT characters. Let me know what you think. 

-Jessica