A to Z Challenge: Keeping Things Consistent

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This one’s also pretty easy, but very freaking tedious to do. Still, it wouldn’t be right if I made all my topics too difficult, so here goes.

When you get around to editing, it’s pretty important to keep an eye out for inconsistencies in your writing.

I’m talking about small things like the spelling of a name. Or a  name changing for no reason in the middle of the story.

Or punctuation. Are you applying (or ignoring) grammatical rules consistently?

It sounds like a silly thing to do, but it’s amazing how fast a reader can pick up  the smallest change. They might not see it. They might not be able to put their finger on the problem, but something will yank them out of the story and make them wonder what changed.

So don’t let something like a silly inconsistency damage the reading experience. It’s so not worth it.

Look Out for These:

1) US vs UK spelling.

2) Names.

3) Grammar.

So which inconsistencies catch you every time? Which ones have caught you in the past?

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31 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: Keeping Things Consistent

  1. Since the names of my characters are unusual, I really try to keep them consistent. I'll do several searches to make sure each one matches. Because I've found that in typing 'Byron' I've slipped once or twice and typed 'Bryon' which is also a real name. (Thus Spellcheck does not say hey, stupid, you spelled it wrong!)

  2. This is why the first draft takes me so long, because I'm always concerned about grammar and tense. Also, I try to be consistent with my US/UK spelling. Technically I'm supposed to write in the US form, but I think the UK form looks so much more beautiful. Something about those U's (favourite, et. al.).

  3. One of my characters changed hair colour half-way through the book. Thank God I picked it up. If I leave a WIP for a while before coming back I have to try doubly hard to remember what car the character drives, the name of his best friend…Many people leave post-its with this information on the wall.

  4. Although I am a crafting blogger and not a writing blogger, I do understand the importance about consistency in writing. My biggest challenge has indeed been slowing down and checking my spelling and grammar. Thanks for the reminder.
    -Debbie

  5. Eye color. Time of day. Where they're at and where there heading. I'm reading through my entire MS. Reading it out loud trying to find those tongue-twister sentences.

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog! I appreciate the support! 🙂 I'm constantly editing my posts before they publish, but I admit to using UK/Canadian spellings of some words (such as 'colour').

  7. Names are my dilemma. I think up so many in any given story that, if it's a long one, by the end the original name is so twisted that it doesn't even resemble the original. It's why I've taken to spelling all names in a first draft in all caps. Easier to find that way and catalog.

    Good luck on your first book! Looking forward to seeing you cross that deadline successfully. 🙂

    Jessica
    A to Z Blogger & SF/Fantasy Writer @ Visions of Other Worlds

  8. Keeping tings consistent sounds deceptively easy. Making sure each character speaks the way they should, acts the way they should is hard enough. Throw in the rest of the novel and dang, it just gets harder.

  9. I'm not much on making lists-just ask my wife-but i've gone to making cue cards to keep track of details for my novel. 300 pages is a lot to edit, especially on the fifth or sixth run. Find and replace really helps edit names as well. If your brain keeps wanting to spell it one way, or spellcheck isn't catching an obvious typo, type in the one you hang up on and replace it with what you want.
    Thanks for visiting Texas, by the way.
    Tate's Other Side

  10. Thanks for sharing such great insights through your posts. At the end of the challenge, your blog would serve as a ready reference and must read for every first time writer!

  11. Names. I once found a character who'd I'd referred to by at least four different ones. 😛 Systems of measurement sometimes throw me, too; probably because I write SF, I get confused as to whether to use metric or not.

  12. Another thing to watch in terms of consistency is timing. I always have to be careul to go back and make sure that what I said would take 2 days in the beginning actually takes 2 days. 🙂

  13. The UK vs. US spelling made me laugh because I'm taking this online writing class. One of my classmates is Canadian, and in the stories she submits she uses UK spelling. We always tease her about it, and she teases us for our “uneducated” spelling. 🙂

    Anyway, that maybe doesn't have so much to do with this post. One thing I've had trouble in is changing a character's name (on purpose) halfway through and then forgetting all the places I've written their name out. I changed a character's name from Blanche to Bridget halfway through my latest short story.

  14. Consistency is vital in writing. And it gets easier the longer we write, I think. But I always have to watch out for certain inconsistencies that I always make. (Mine is names) Yikes!

    Great post, Misha! 🙂

  15. I must admit, being Canadian, I'm always having to check how I spell things. But, more importantly, I'm having to also look out for idioms. Like the other day, my CP caught “took a fit” vs “threw a fit”. The only thing I could figure is one is the Canadian version and the other American. It left me perplexed!

  16. I look out for all of the above. 🙂 I keep notes on eye color and hair color right next to me so I don't forget. I remember my cp saying one time–how is it that the guy's eyes are brown here and blue here…..Hmm…

  17. I'm mystified when I see a spelling/grammar mistake in a published book. It makes me think the project wasn't loved enough! My spellcheck tries to change to US spelling all the time, but UK will always be my preference.

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