So, I got all my stuff together reasonably early this morning, so I got to go to the coffee shop and spend a few quality hours getting all jittered up and and writing. Except for the fact that I can hardly sit still just now, I feel good about the progress I’ve made so far. Tonight looks good to make quite a bit more progress as well. Of course, I haven’t checked my work e-mail, so all that could change.
Sometime this past week, I was thinking hard about one of my main characters, and realized the voice I’d tried to give him wasn’t working. It didn’t make for consistent reactions through different parts of the story. It took a bit more character history writing to figure out what voice would work, but I think I got there. So, my task today was to go back through and revise three or four chapters, hitting all of the spots where one of these characters appears, in order to work on giving him that new voice.
After bopping around for a while, updating dialogue, and feeling super good about myself, I hit a point where one of the characters had been written to react in exactly the opposite manner than he had done in an earlier chapter. I wouldn’t have even thought about it except that I was reviewing all of the conversations for consistency of voice, and this one was obvious. It wasn’t a major problem, I don’t think, I just went back and added a few sentences to explain the change his position on the matter, the circumstances already set it up for him to change his position anyhow. Unfortunately, this edit brought my attention to other issues of consistency. Mostly stuff about who said what and when.
Needless to say, this became an exercise in flipping around through all of the chapters to make sure everyone was reacting to situations in a consistent manner, as I progressed through the dialogue re-writing. For the most part, I was looking for instances where new information was being presented as known, or known information was being presented as new. Nothing seemed to require major changes, just a few well-placed sentences, and in a couple instances a paragraph or two. A lot of the inconsistencies appear to have come from earlier revisions where I was smoothing out dialogue so it felt more natural, and less like an information dump. Based on the issues, it appears that I had moved a bit of explanation, then removed it later because I think I thought it had been addressed somewhere else. I’m nearly to the point where I’m back to working on new material, and so it should be easier to prevent those inconsistencies.
I don’t know what the point of this post is, except that I’m making progress. I suppose this is also a note to be careful when you’re revising, even small details, because they can have a way of rippling outward in your story from the point the change was made, even if it’s a tiny change. The longer you let those go, the bigger they’re going to seem to the reader.