Consistency is incredibly important for your manuscript. If there are gaps in consistency, you lose credibility with your reader. Your reader feels that if you did not put in the effort to make sure that the black left eye that Bobby had in chapter one did not turn into the black right eye that Bobby had in chapter two, then why should they put in the effort to finish reading at all. Inconsistency interrupts the reader’s experience because now they have to go back and reread parts of chapter one to make sure that they were reading correctly and it’s not fair to them, but if you are a writer you know as well as I do that despite our reads and rereads, our peer reviews and even professional edits, sometimes there are still mistakes. Improve the consistency in your manuscript with these helpful tips.
Keep a notes section. Keep a notes section at the front of your manuscript and read through it often. Just behind my title page, I keep a section called notes. In my notes section I keep the first and last names of my characters, names and spellings of important places and a barrage of other miscellaneous details to which I refer back to time and time again. If you have a particularly long list of characters or places this notes section will come in handy.
Draw a blueprint for main settings. Most of the plot of my current manuscript, Unwanted, takes place in a large building. During my second re-write I realized that some of the rooms where in one place or direction in one chapter then in another in the next chapter. To correct this, I drew a blue print for the building and I always refer to it when location of a room is of particular importance.
Drop the excruciating details. Don’t get bogged down in details. While details can be important sometimes at others they are not and only serve to slow the story instead of moving it along as they should. If particular details are not necessary to the plot of a story, leave them out! Your writing should be easy, rhythmic and carry the reader gently through to the end of the book. A bunch of unnecessary details will only bore your reader and possibly trap you into an endless number of intertwining inconsistencies.
A barrage on inconsistencies will make your reader put down your book before they get a chance to fully realize your brilliance. Take special care to rid your book of inconsistencies, it will also improve the story, making it more believable and it will make you a better author, giving you more credibility.