Wednesday, October 4, 2017
How Authors Forget Their Own Facts
When I was a younger reader, it used to bug me to no end when an author would mess up their own continuity. "They wrote it!" I'd think. "How could they forget that fact?"
Then I started doing multiple drafts of my own books, and sequels, and I realized how difficult it is to keep all of one's facts straight when sometimes they change in every draft!
I'm not a natural note-taker. I tend to trust my memory to remember things. Yet between my advancing age (haha) and my fibromyalgia brain fog, I've found that the old gray cells have become a little cluttered and fuzzy. I've got to keep notes in order to keep my stress levels down.
Microsoft Word has a track changes feature that is helpful when looking at changes you've made between drafts, but it makes for a choppy reading experience and I prefer to only use it when approving changes by an editor (and vice versa). To keep track of fact changes, I keep a daily log and I'll also leave comments for myself in the text to remember to sync up or double check any changes I make.
Today, word processors with tools like the in-text comments, find and replace, and track changes make the work of smoothing out continuity much easier. I'm in awe of those authors who hand wrote their novels (or used a typewriter) and still managed to keep things quite straight. I mean, anyone who has read the drafts of J.R.R. Tolkien knows that he changed hundreds of things throughout the course of writing his entries for Middle Earth, and somehow "The Lord of the Rings" remains fairly clear from a continuity standpoint. A good editor can catch a lot, but not everything, especially if you're doing a sequel and you got a new editor in-between projects.
So, anyhow, as I work hard to keep the continuity intact for "The Song of the Fay" I have developed greater appreciation and grace for all of the authors and editors who work hard to achieve the same tasks for their works.
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