How to prevent continuity errors in your book

Continuity errors drive us batty, especially when they’re our own. They’re most noticeable in films, for example when a character is wearing a hat in one shot but not in another shot during the same scene. But such errors happen in books, too, and must be rooted out during editing. One way to avoid them is to use a style sheet.

You can create your style sheet as you write, or you can leave it until after you’ve finished the rough draft. I do some of my style-sheet building as I go, but a lot doesn’t get done until later. Continue reading

Use Excel spreadsheets to organize writing projects

Novelists are often advised to keep a story timeline, especially for complicated plots. But if your plot gets too complex, or you have multiple storylines going on, you may need more than a linear list in Word or on a notepad.

I started creating my timelines in Excel years ago, but my self-designed spreadsheets were awfully primitive. Then I discovered Vertex 42. Continue reading

The difference between your voice and the character’s voice

Voice, like art, is one of those things that, being hard to define, often falls into the category of “I’ll know it when I see it.” It’s a quality that writers strive for and editors look for, precisely because it’s so hard to accomplish.

There are two kinds of voice; authorial voice, which is what writers bring to their overall body of work, and character voice, which is how each individual character sounds to the reader.

One of the great advantages of Deep POV is that, if your characters are well developed, their voices will pervade the narrative. In Deep POV, the main voices one notices are those of the characters. Continue reading