Tuesday, January 3, 2017

If You Don't Put On Your Toque, You'll Forget Where Your Brain Is

It's cold outside.

It's cold outside and I don't have to go anywhere. Not really. But...  I need to start up my car so I can be sure to be able to get to work tomorrow.

And I need groceries.

I could wait until tomorrow to get the groceries, but that car still needs to be started so it doesn't freeze. And if I have to start the car I might as well get the groceries.

This is one of the reasons why I'm planning on moving to Victoria where I was born and grew up. Sure they hit freezing sometimes, like once every five years, but they don't get freeze your face off freezing ever, and you don't have to worry if your car will start. And  your fingers don't fall off because of the cold.

In spite of my day off, when I could have accomplished something, like that book which also includes working on the document that goes along with that book because I'm writing a series and need to keep everything straight, I spent time arguing on Facebook.

I fall into that sometimes. I argue on Facebook until I have to start turning off posts and notifications because I get sucked in again even though I know that arguing on Facebook gets me nowhere. Tip number one. Don't argue on Facebook. I need to make a sticker of that and attach it to my computer. If someone says something stupid, just decide they're too stupid to argue with. I should make a note of that too. Maybe I should make a meme and stick it on Facebook. I don't know how to make a meme.

J.K. Rowling doesn't waste her time arguing on Facebook. She makes a brief statement and stands back and lets others argue. She is a success.

 J.K. Rowling also has thousands of pages of information about Potter world that no one ever sees. I now know why. With my series I can't keep track of who owns what shop, and where they're all situated, and customers names and ages and back stories, without this document where I keep track of everything or try to.

It's fine not to have if you're only writing one stand alone book, but when you write a series, things start getting more complex.

Ever watched a show or read a book where you found continuity errors?  Like in the Brady Bunch when Mike. early on in the series. said the attic was only four feet tall and later on in the series Greg makes a bedroom out of it and there was no episode in between that involved renovating the attic or shrinking Greg.

Or in Supenatural the boys have their names and faces plastered everywhere because they're wanted criminals (they didn't do the crimes, demons taking on their images did), but later all is forgotten and nobody blinks when they meet them. Sure they were killed off according to the news reports, twice, but still, you would think someone would remember. No, instead these guys flash fake badges and are invited into homes where they get served tea.

Or how about when they find Cass who has lost his memory, in his new home with his new wife, which he leaves when he runs off with Dean and then gets his memory back, but has now completely forgotten that he has a wife and no mention is ever made of her again. And when he becomes human and discovers food and sex, he completely forgets that he already discovered food and sex in previous episodes even though he hasn't forgotten anything else.

So I'm trying to avoid that, which started off as a simple enough project but has taken on a monstrous life of it's own.

I'm in the rewrite stage of this book. Do I keep this? What do I do with that? How old is this person supposed to be? What day is it? Maybe this would be better in another book in the series? I need this document and it has to be updated with every new character, plot point and development that comes along.

The first draft is easy in comparison. You write until the story is told. The second rewrite is all about correcting and clarifying and adding and subtracting and multiplying and division. Who knew that writing included math? Sure, I'm good at math, but I never liked it.

I learned the painful way with the first book in the series. I didn't have a document then. But when I went to write the second book, I discovered that I forgot things and I had to spend a LOT of time making that document.

So here's my advice to writers writing series. I'm assuming that all hope is lost and I can't convince you to run away from being a writer.

You need to make a document that lists all your characters, your books in your series, your plot points and every other piece of information you might need. You think you'll remember everything, but you won't. You'll be writing merrily along and realize that you forgot when someone was born, or the name of their sister, or the reason they left their last job and it's important for your story and you can't just make it up because you already did and you published it.

Yeah, don't let continuity errors wreck your book. Your readers will notice. They remember things you've long forgotten like when angels become human and discover sex for the second time.

Now, I guess I better go and start my car and hope that my hands don't freeze and break off because if that happens, I won't be able to write anymore.


V.J. Maheu said...

I never noticed the mistake in the Brady Bunch, of course I was watching the Brady Bunch when I was 7 or 8... so maybe it just slipped past me.

I notice all kinds of mistakes in other shows, for example, the Walking Dead. Its been now, what something like seven or eight years since the Zombie apocalypse? Since that time, no one has been manufacturing new cars, no one has been refining oil, no one has been producing new gasoline from that refined oil... and yet, they drive cars all over the desecrated landscape.

Um... if anyone knows anything about gasoline when it sits... it goes bad. So, all of the gasoline in the gas stations, in the tanks, in the gas cans... would be bad by now, and none of those cars would work.

Now, don't freeze!!