DailyWritingTips

Checking for Consistency in Characters and Plot

When you’re writing your novel, it’s so easy to lose track of the finer details. Yet, these very details can be the key to creating a believable and engaging narrative. But don’t worry, I’m here to tackle this beast called consistency head-on!

Defining Consistency in Characters and Plot

Checking for Consistency in Characters and Plot

In the land of storytelling, consistency refers to maintaining a steady hand on the tiller of your character development and plot progression. It means your characters remain true to their behaviors, traits and arcs, while your plot follows the path you’ve laid out for it.

Why Consistency Matters in Your Narrative

Consistency is like the glue that holds your story together. It’s the reason why readers stick to your book, why they care about your characters, and why they keep turning the pages. A plot hole here or an out-of-character decision there, and you might find your reader’s trust starting to wobble. And trust us, reader trust is not something you want to mess with!

Common Inconsistencies in Characterization

Character inconsistencies can range from major personality shifts (unless there’s a justified reason) to smaller details like a character’s eye color magically changing halfway through the book. Let’s not even start on the character who was a timid mouse in chapter two but suddenly turned into Rambo by chapter five!

Typical Plot Inconsistencies to Look Out For

Plot inconsistencies can take various forms, too. Perhaps you’ve set up a major conflict that is conveniently forgotten by the end, or a subplot disappears into the narrative equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle. Beware, these inconsistencies can turn your masterpiece into a shipwreck.

Your Checklist for Ensuring Character Consistency

  1. Keep detailed character profiles and refer to them often.
  2. Pay attention to character growth and changes, ensure they are justified.
  3. Read dialogue out loud to ensure it matches each character’s voice.
  4. Always question: Would my character really do/say/think this?

Steps to Validate Plot Consistency

  1. Keep an outline of your main plot points and subplots.
  2. Regularly revisit your outline to ensure everything is unfolding as it should.
  3. If you introduce a problem, ensure it gets resolved.
  4. Look for any “loose ends” and tie them up.

Case Study: A Tale of Two Inconsistencies

Meet Bob, our main character, who started as a pacifist but led an armed rebellion by chapter 10. And let’s not forget the mysterious pendant that was touted as vital to the plot but was never mentioned again after chapter three. These inconsistencies left readers confused and frustrated. Don’t be like Bob’s author. Be consistent!

Maintaining a Steady Ship

Consistency in characters and plot is like a compass for your narrative ship. Keep it steady, and your readers will gladly sail along with you till the end of their journey.