Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Consistency within a series

Authors don't always plan to write a series, but a secondary character demands their own story, or more ideas keep coming, or the world is so engaging readers request more stories, and a series is born.
The author may have forgotten the placeholder name she used for some minor character, or the hair color of a child, or insignificant details of the world. Unfortunately the readers will not have forgotten and the author will be in trouble if facts have changed between book one and book three, unless there is an excellent reason which is explained in the book.
I recommend keeping a series "bible". This may be as simple as a spreadsheet with character names and defining characteristics on it, or as complicated as a book with every detail included. That's up to the author.
What is essential, however, is that Tim does not become Tom, a blue flower does not miraculously turn red, and the poisonous snakes that terrorised the villagers in book one do not suddenly disappear from the series without a convincing explanation.

Helen Woodall


Amarinda Jones said...

I think if you're anal you keep a 'bible'. If you 'feel'and 'know'the story it stays in your heart

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Very true Amarinda. If an author is invested in her characters she knows them through and through. But if the story was written several years ago, or the author has written several books, it's better to be anal and accurate.