Reading back over the script I’m writing at the moment, I am shocked at the amount of inconsistencies I have acquired. For example, one of my characters, Felix, comments on how he doesn’t take art or history. Then, later, another character – James – is ‘offended’ that none of them too art, but they all took history (GAH DX).
I don’t remember Felix not taking history. When I read it, my brain when, ‘Wait, when did this happen?!’ Then there are other things, like dates which I’m not sure about; for example, how long James has been working at the school, or which day is which.
I’m sure (well, I hope) that other people also suffer these problems (so I’m not the only one!). But what’s a way (well, 5 ways) to sort them out, so you don’t stumble upon your character suddenly taking up life drawing, or being 5 years younger than they actually are?
- Keep a timeline (eg on Excel)/calender. If your story takes place in, say, 2006, see if you can find a 2006 calender from somewhere. You’ll be able to make sure that if, for example, you comment on January 5th being a Saturday, use the calender to make sure it actually is a Saturday and not a Thursday or something. They’re also useful for seeing how much time has passed.
- Make notes as you go along. These aren’t the same as timelines. Just little bullet points (eg, ‘They have a date. They kiss.’ This would prevent you commenting on their ‘first’ kiss later and then having to change it!) can really help you later on – they’re also really quick to read over.
- Read what you’ve written (duh). This isn’t the same thing as editing – I’d do it before then. Just read over what you’ve written, and if it sounds wrong, you can go back and check it.
- Just write it. If it’s wrong, change it later! I’ve messed up quite badly, so I’m going to fix all of these inconsistencies once the script is finished. Stuff that has been written can be changed. Unfortunately, stuff that hasn’t been cannot.
- Get someone else to read it. You know your story well. You know your characters well. Therefore, you may miss some things – for example, a character repeating something (not technically an inconsistency, but you still don’t want to be repeating yourself. Got that? Once it’s been said once, you don’t want it again, so don’t have your character repeating themselves) or the fact you mentioned they graduated 5 years ago, but then they comment on how their first year out of school has been terrible – you might not pick up on this, but a pair of fresh eyes probably could.
Hope some of these helped you guys – even if you don’t think you have any inconsistencies, you may as well go back and check anyway!
Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀