Today I thought I’d write about consistency in novels and short stories, because to my mind, it’s the second biggest problem (after the first: not having a good enough story / not being good enough yet at writing).
Look at this paragraph as an example.
Helen went shopping. Her red hair was very bright today, as she had had a bad accident with her home hair-dying kit. This put Helen in a stinker of a mood!
Now look at this paragraph, written by the same author 2 days later.
Helen finished her shopping and her hair was all frazzled and not as red as she had wanted it. She was also starting to feel in a slightly better mood because of the text she had just received.
Okay, let’s give the writer the benefit of the doubt and say that he or she remembered to put something in in-between these paragraphs about the text. There is still an issue, isn’t there? Yes…Helen’s hair is now frazzled and not died bright red. She is also in a good mood, which you would not expect after the end of the first paragraph.
And this demonstrates how hard novel writing / short story writing truly is. Not only must the words be compression short and the plot perfect, but you must constantly remember how each and every character feels at all times. It’s a headache but you should consider making a “mood chart”. That way, at least you won’t have to keep all that info up there in your head.
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