Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Remember Where You Are

And when I say "you", I really mean your characters.

Tell me if you can identify what's wrong with this passage.

I swing my legs off the bed and slide into my hunting boots. Supple leather that has moulded to my feet. I pull on trousers, a shirt, tuck my long dark braid up into a cap, and grab my forage bag.


I'll give you a hint. You put one leg on at a time.

Still haven't got it. The character put on her hunting boots before her trousers. While I guess technically you can do that. I don't think many people do. This is a little thing, but we need to keep track of where our characters are. Are they sitting one moment, then standing in the other room the next. The easiest way I find to keep track of my characters movements, is to read it out loud and keep track of it on a piece of paper. That way I don't have my one legged character moving around too much or another character laying down when they should be standing.

How about you? How do you keep track of where your characters are?

btw: that excerpt was from a NY times best selling novel

16 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

I did this the other day, only it was with an accident. I had her screaming before the horse bolted, and had her cracking her head before the carriage completely overturned. (Which I suppose she could have done the latter but she was already on the floor.)

Joanne said...

Reading out loud always helps to see things I wouldn't otherwise see. Still, sometimes I say Wait, and have to go back a paragraph or two and make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Great tip with reading it out loud. I've chopped off many boring sentences after doing so.
~ Wendy

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I read out loud, but that's to catch the awkward sentences (that I sometimes still miss when I read out loud!!!!).

I read a book last year in which the guy was wearing jeans in one paragraph and black leather pants in the next. And he magically changed into them (even though it was a romantic suspense and not a paranormal novel) while sitting at the table and having a conversation with the heroine. It threw me right out of the story.

Miranda Hardy said...

I've caught things like this in others writing. I hope my editor would catch it. Lol

Jessica Nelson said...

Hahaa! That's hilarious. I didn't even realize. Huh.
I'm bad with logical stuff but luckily I have a few critters who always tell me when someone has miraculously flew from one room to another. *grin*

Terri Tiffany said...

LOL Done that one before! I try to visualize a lot as I write and that helps!

Misha Gericke said...

I try to see the scene as a movie in my mind as I write, but sometimes the mistakes slip through, especially when I get engrossed in the movie and forget to pay attention to what I'm writing. ;-)

Good thing I have crit partners.

Candice said...

One of my beta readers is awesome at picking out inconsistencies. If the toast pops up and only a few seconds have passed since the bread was placed in the toaster she totally calls you on it. It's awesome!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, this is a good illustration, Patti! What a great way to make your point. Now, I have to go spy on my characters! :-)

Saumya said...

Haha, I make so many mistakes with my characters. It'll take me several rewrites to catch them all!

Carol Riggs said...

Yes, I've done something similar before!! I TRY to catch those in my successive drafts, even if I write them into my roughs. And I TRY to catch them and pay attention when I'm critiquing. Especially when someone has been revising, it's easy to lose the threads of what is going on.

Carolyn V said...

I do that all the time. *blush* My crit group always helps me out. I'm so glad for them!

Southpaw said...

Yup reading aloud.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I visualize like I'm actually my characters. But if I miss stuff my betas are awesome at catching it. :)

Lynn said...

Haha! This easily happens. Along with visualizing, sometimes I will physically do the movements to make sure I got it right.