Monday, April 4, 2011

Consistency

When we write it’s important to maintain consistency though our project. For example, if a writer has a writing style that is simplistic then she shouldn’t use a flowery description of a character or place. It might sound good, it might shine like a pearl in the writer’s eyes, but it has to go because it is inconsistent to the way the rest of the story is written.

Anything different to the majority of the prose will stand out and jolt the reader from the story—no matter how well written.

Do you have difficulty deleting fantastic gems of prose that don’t fit in with the rest of your writing style for a piece?

Note: This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. I will be posting Monday-Saturday during April corresponding to the letters of the alphabet.

50 comments:

  1. What a great topic for the challenge! I might write something inconsistent in the first draft, but I think I catch it in subsequent drafts.

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  2. Morning!!
    great post, staying in the voice of the current work can be tricky at times. I have deleted an entire scene from the current one because it lost the short sarcastic writing of my teen character. Hitting 'delete' was hard!

    easy to do, have to be ruthless to fix sometimes. Great post and happy writing challenge to you.

    Sarah

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  3. Great advice. I'll have to be aware of this while I'm working on my revision.

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  4. I have difficulty keeping those type of things. Granted, I'm very critical of my writing and, because of that, I tend to think something is much worse than others do.

    Great post!

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  5. So true and so important. It's hard sometimes for me to keep my MC consistent in her actions and/or thoughts and I have to take a step back and make sure she is staying true to her character. Great post. :)

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  6. I'll let you know when I finally write that fantastic gem of prose ;-j

    Good post :)

    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

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  7. It's always hard to delete a lovely piece of prose. That's why I save them for later!

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  8. As my beloved writing teacher says, "Kill your darlings." Still, it's hard to do.

    Great post!

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  9. ah, now I have an appetite for some macaroni :)

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  10. I've actually caught myself doing this a couple times. Since I did love the pieces, I simply copied and pasted them to a word doc. then just cut it from the ms and rewrote it.

    Fantastic topic!

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  11. Consistency is so important!!! As I edit, I can tell where I'm trying too hard and so the scene just reads trite and contrived. And there are many of these little blighters!! LOL!!! Great writerly point, thank you! take care
    x

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  12. Thank you for the great tips you share. I think consistency also comes from knowing who you are and where you want your characters to go.

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  13. When I was writing my master's thesis my supervisor had some good advice for those bits that were interesting but not relevant - take them out, put them in another document so that you can add them in later - which you never do because they are interesting but not relevant.

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  14. I have no problem deleting because I don't know how to create them in the first place.

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  15. Yes, great point! Sometimes I think up (what I think is) a great simile, but it just doesn't "fit" the novel I'm writing. Sigh. I do save it in another folder/document, but then I forget to look at that document when I'm in another novel. LOL Most similes and great descriptions are better tailor-made, anyway. :)

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  16. Great reminder!! I need this too, right now... still editing and definitely a timely piece of advice. '-)

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  17. Julie, all rules are thrown out for the first draft :)

    Sarah, yep, deleting isn't always easy.

    Carrie, thanks

    E M Jenkinson, haha yep, I think a writer oscillates between thinking they are the best writer in the world to the worst and back again.

    Read, thanks

    CherylAnne, that step back is important.

    Charmaine, lol ;)

    Bish, good plan

    Kiernan, yes indeed.

    Dezzy, macaroni is one of the ultimate comfort foods (after chocolate) ;)

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  18. Words, I always find it easier to delete a section if I can save it somewhere first.

    Old Kitty, many, many... I've got the same problem ;)

    Siv, so true

    Jan, yes, exactly, but if it makes it easier to take out, then it's win.

    Alex, hehe

    Carol, I do the same and I also never go back. lol.

    Talei, good luck with your editing :)

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  19. I keep trying to to make the whole damn book a box of gems.

    Its gonna be awhile on the editing.

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  20. I like the idea of consistency. Great idea for the C. You're making me want to post. I decided to go with US time so post at 8 ish at night our time.

    Denise<3

    L'Aussies Travel Blog A - Z Challenge

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  21. Toby, well then, you'll have to delete the macaroni ;)

    L'Aussie, yep, I thought about posting later, but decided it would shift my regular schedule too much.

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  22. In the beginning, I had a difficult time getting rid of anything because it was something I created. Now, when I go back to revise, anything that makes me cringe or doesn't sound like me is gone. I have a tad too much fun with the delete button.

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  23. I've been in situations a bit like that before, but I've never been content to simply take out the 'inconsistent' bit. Maybe it's the little perfectionist in me, but I'd either try rewrite that bit so that it's great AND consistent, or rewrite the surrounding passage so that it's great and fits in with the little gem? I don't know if those tricks would always work.

    This is a bit different, but - I started one story in the third person, and found that it wasn't really flowing. Since it was the sequel to a story written in the first person, (though the POV character of the first story only appears in one scene at the end of the second story,) I chose a point of view character and rewrote what I had for the sequel in his POV...

    But the first scene of the sequel draft was tough, because it was obviously written as third person from Chloe's perspective, not Michael's. I had to rewrite some really good bits there, because they were Chloe's thoughts and reactions, but in the end the scene from Michael's first person POV was really good too.

    Thanks for joining in the A-Z challenge!

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  24. This is an excellent point. I would advise waiting though and going back through afterward to see because sometimes what you think is flowery, for example, doesn't really read that way.

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  25. Greta advice from you and all of the other that commented! i think Consistency is something that must be worked on as you grow as a writer. Nice "C" post!


    Sheila Staley : Reviewer & Writer
    Book reviews and Author Interviews at my blog at http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/

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  26. hmm you've given me something to think about there.
    thank you

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  27. Yes! I find it so irritating. What a great picture to prove your point.

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  28. I can see how this could be difficult.
    It is about finding your style, your voice, it takes experimenting and lots of work! Great point!

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  29. I'm a firm believer in "kill your Darlings"..and I stick to it :)

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  30. You're absolutely right - consistency is key. I'm reading a book right now that's fairly simply written but every once in awhile, there's a flowery description of a character and it always throws me off because it seems so out of place. I try to stay consistent - I'm sure I don't always succeed, but when I go back and re-read and edit, I try to catch it!

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  31. What an amazing topic and an awesome post! Thanks for the information to think over!

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  32. Yep! Always! and it sure is depressing ...

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  33. Well said!
    Great advice and reminder! Loved the photo you paired with your post.

    Have a lovely week!

    Betty :)

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  34. Hey Lynda ~~ great tip !! And I like the accompanying picture !
    Enjoy the rest of A~Z !!

    ~MICHELLE~
    writer-in-transit.co.za/category/other/rambles-rants-and-raves/

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  35. This is why you need to put your WIP aside for a while and then return to it with fresh eyes.

    Thank you for the great advice!

    Ellie Garratt

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  36. Sometimes. But I eventually do. I leave it in for as long as possible and then cut it when I know for sure.

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  37. Love that photo! Sometimes I think I'm a little too slash happy, but I do love trimming the fat!

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  38. so far, I don't think this is one of my problems.... I'll wait for P, Pacing... Or U, underwriting. ;p <3

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  39. Yes. I can't bear to delete my 'great prose' even if it doesn't fit. My darlings are here to stay.

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  40. It IS difficult to delete those passages you think are gems. But I've learned to be ruthless. (You can save them, of course; they might be useful in some future writings.)
    Ann Best, Long Journey Home

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  41. I've gotten the inconsistency critique before. Its good to be reminded :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  42. Great point! Somtimes, consistently keeping the MC's "voice" is challenging, but it's sooooooo important.

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  43. I catch the flowery stuff eventually. My MC is a straight forward older lady. If it's too much, she usually tells me. ; )

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  44. I find it easier if I tuck the inconsistent part away in another document--that way, at least I'll know I can always go back and use it for something else.

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  45. Thanks everyone for your awesome comments. They are much appreciated. I'm running a bit behind, but I'll catch up and visit everyone.

    Kelworthfiles, thanks for your awesome example.

    Lisa, absolutely. It's always a good thing to wait, get a bit of distance to gain that all important insight.

    As for the photo... I took quite a few different versions before I was happy (I don't own any pearls) lol.

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  46. Sometimes but if i put the writing away fro a while I can read it with more subjectivity :O)

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  47. Madeleine, yep, breaks are essential for that.

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  48. interesting thoughts on writing. thanks for the visit to my blog

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.