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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Who is this anyway?

One of the most common errors in story telling is naming a character wrongly. That is, after writing for some time about different characters and how they interact with each other, you accidentally misname one or more of them.

For example; David and Charlie both have designs on Cheryl. David arranges a casual date with her. While on the date, Cheryl asks David’s character a question. “So tell me Charlie, when will you be done shooting the scene?” Charlie ran his fingers through his hair. “It’s been pretty rough, but we should be done in a day or two.”

Do you see what I mean? David is in the scene, not Charlie. This happens more often than you’d think. It usually doesn’t occur until after you’ve been working on something for some time. In the beginning, you’re very clear about your characters, what they look like and how they act, etc. But after you’ve lived with them for awhile, you start typing automatically and sometimes your fingers just misname someone.

Obviously this can be a real problem for the reader as it leads to confusion. It can also take away from your credibility as a writer. If you have an editor they’ll most likely come to your rescue. If your goal is to self-publish or to become an Indie writer, it’s entirely up to you unless you hire an editor/proof reader.

How do you avoid this? Often mistakes such as this are caused by fatigue. When you’re tired your mind doesn’t work as well, you aren’t as sharp and alert as you should be. Take a break. Lie down. If you’ve been up most of the night writing, call it a day and go to bed. Proof read! Don’t wait until your project is finished, you’ll be sadly disappointed. You don’t have to read all that you’ve written over and over, but it’s a good idea to proof read your previous days work. It’s also a good idea to have someone else read over your work. Fresh eyes can pick up errors before yours will.

Another common error which is related to this is description errors. If ‘Isabella’ has long thick, wavy black hair don’t suddenly make her a blonde with straight hair. This often happens when we leave a character for some time and then bring them back into the story. Refer to your back ground document, often. That document that has all of the character descriptions, locations, and miscellaneous things that are important to your story.

I hope I’ve given you some helpful information.

Good luck with all of your writing endeavors.