TG Book Give-away and CONSISTENCY

27 Aug

First: Tomorrow I will be on the radio, “How She Really Does It With Koren Motekaitis.” Here is the Podcast page of some of her guests – I feel honored to be included among them.

Next, Barbara at The Serenity Gate is having a Tender Graces Give-away. Head on over there if you are interested in going for it.

And thank you to Natalie W for this award! As I always say, I am so very bad about passing on awards. I am always honored and happy when I received them, and then I mess up by not doing my part. But I am appreciative.

We’ve discussed dangling participles, similes, body parts that move on their own, adverbs, tic words, and yesterday, Point of View.

Today, I will speak about Consistency.

Consistency is key. For example, if I’m reading a novel and the author is writing in third person limited POV (see below), and suddenly they switch to omniscient POV (head-hop) (below), I am thrown. Not Consistent. If you want to head-hop, do it consistently. If you are writing from one narrator/charater’s POV, then don’t willy nilly change to head hopping here there and yonder. Be Consistent. You do not want to bump me from the world you are creating. Let me, as your reader, know what you are up to so I can go along for the ride without wondering what is going to come out of the blue or without going, “Wait, what was that? I thought . . . ” (obviously if you are creating a world where you are going to surprise your audience, then a “wow, I didn’t expect that” can be a good thing . . . but, there is a difference between that and playing your audience for a fool, or just slap being careless . . . but playing your audience for a fool is another subject for another day.)

As I said below: If you convince your audience, you have done your job: Period. But you better convince them well if you are coloring outside the POV lines—at least for this reader. Be consistent.

You want the reader to trust you to keep them engaged in the world of your character(s). When you aren’t consistent, the reader is temporarily thrown out of your story—or bumped from your story—and that is not what you want, right?

You want to build that trust between you and your reader that tells/shows them you know what you are doing. Think about that. You want your reader to be confident that you are going to give them something they are looking for even if they do not know they are looking for it, because you convince them. Be consistent to build trust.

Consistency is important in other areas, too—as in writing Dialect (more on dialect later), creating a consistent world of your making, in the “character” of your character, and in the obvious ways: blue-eyed people remain blue-eyed, Tommy doesn’t turn into Johnny, a character hates liver and later on in the story they are, without explanation, happily chowing down on a pile of liver, etcetera.

Breaking rules is a beautiful thing, but if you decide to do it and are not consistent, then your reader can be Bumped from the world of your characters.

Convince your audience you are the confident story teller by being consistent.

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13 Responses to “TG Book Give-away and CONSISTENCY”

  1. Sandra Leigh August 27, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    I'm so glad to see that if I can't hear the "How She Really Does It" broadcast in real time, I can catch the podcast later. Thank you so much for writing this series of tips, Kathryn. I'm particularly enjoying your posts about POV.And – congratulations on another well-deserved award.

  2. Analisa August 27, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    Love this. I had quite a laugh looking at the cartoon. I have felt cheated when I catch writers slipping on that. Like TV shows. One show actually changed the name of a child from the first episode. Twins at that. Didn't they think viewers would notice?It is a good reason to have character outlines to help you stay true.

  3. T. Anne August 27, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    OK. I'm caught red handed, I'm such a rebel and love playing fast and loose with the rules of writing. It thrilled me beyond measure when Stephen King (on wrihting) gave permission to authors to do as they please, write the entire manuscript in crayon if they wished…oh the glee!

  4. Pseudonymous High School Teacher August 27, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    You make me wish I could take a year off teaching and just write. sigh.

  5. Terri Tiffany August 27, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    Good points here:) ANd congrats for so much advertising time you are getting! I am amazed how far and out there you have gotten your book!

  6. Kathryn Magendie August 27, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    Hi Yawwwwll – so enjoying your comments… :)T Anne: Exactly! – of course, no one's published novel is written in crayon, so they had to, at some point, clean it up *laughing*If you read Stephen King – he is a stickler for some rules, too — he always stays in voice and POV and he's a master of character development.I, too, believe in having fun and setting ourselves free – but eventually, we have to force ourselves into some control….dang it allbut at the same time, taking risks is a beautiful thing…..

  7. Lazy Writer August 27, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    How exciting to be on the radio! And congrats on your award. I agree; consistency is so important.

  8. Strange Fiction August 27, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    Great advice Kathryn! Putting ourselves in the readers seat as we write is something we should never forget to do. Looking forward to listening to the podcast!

  9. Jessica August 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Hmm, I hope I'm consistent. It's hard to tell. Congrats on the award and the podcast! I hope you have fun. :-)

  10. Deb Shucka August 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    I really agree with you here. Lack of consistency is enough to turn me off an author for good. One element of that for me is when an author seems to run out of steam before a story is finished.

  11. Titus August 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Congratualtions and good luck with the radio tomorrow. Who is the lady?Cartoon was mint.As ever, you write sense, and you write it well. Cheers!

  12. Titus August 27, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    Have you done one on proof-reading yet? If so, congratulations.

  13. Stephanie Faris August 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    I agree with you. There's nothing more frustrating than when someone suddenly switches, then switches back again. I get lost! I know some do oddball things like this to be unique…and they're unique, alright. Unique in a bad way.

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