This past trip down editing lane, I had one very distinct problem: continuity. The thing just didn't flow.
One of the most important aspects about telling a story is finding the smoothest way from point A to point B. It can't just be a bunch of vignettes without a goal. It has to tell the story from beginning to end with a reasonable progression.
Think about one of those connect-the-dot puzzles kids do. If they don't follow the dots in the proper order, it'll turn out to be a bunch of criss-cross lines. But following the proper path makes a perfect outline of an elephant.
Continuity in a novel is just like that... without the elephants. But then again we're talking fiction -maybe it does have elephants! Anyway, without the proper flow from beginning to end, the wires get crossed and a reader starts to wonder how they got from here to there... or why, for that matter. If the story doesn't follow a clearly marked path, the reader gets lost - whether in time, plot line or character development.
With Catching Moondrops, I realized, with the help of my fantastic editor, that my continuity was a bit out of whack. Addressing the problem seemed a bit overwhelming at first, but it was time to go back to the drawing board. I added a couple of scenes, swapped a few around and then went back to fill in the blanks.
No doubt, it's time consuming. But it's so worth it! A little bit of monkeying around with scenes takes a novel from off-kilter to spot on, giving the writer a sense of satisfaction and the reader a great ride.
So if you're finding yourself mixed up in where to go next with your work-in-progress, step back and eye up that scene order. Look closely at your characters and scenes and see if they match the ebb and flow that you're looking for.
It's time to connect those dots!
The State of Affairs by Deena Peterson
2 weeks ago