Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Continuity is for the Conscientious

Over at the writing community PanHistoria I write in several novels in different genres; horror, history, fantasy, and sci-fi. So I have the pleasure of collaborating with all different types of writers. Well, often it's a pleasure. Sometimes, not so much.

In the novels at Pan many writers are often working together to create their stories. Not always an easy thing with people being located all over the world, on such different schedules, and often at various skill levels. Not to mention varying writing styles. And yet still, somehow it always manages to work out for the enjoyment of all. Usually - but I'm getting to that.

The individual writers and characters don't always interact just because they are in the same novel. For example, my character Brame in 666 West End Avenue is fairly isolated from the others even though he lives in the same apartment building. In the future he will be interacting with others, the writers knowing I am slightly neurotic about the charater of Brame and how he behaves, Most writers are very careful when they are "writing another person's character". There are certain things Brame would not do. Ack, I'm sidetracking myself. What I mean to say is, I don't write with anyone else in there yet, but I try to be aware of the timeline and not mess anyone else up. Yes, sometimes I screw up. When my character was going to be blocking the stairwell I posted on the planning boards to let everyone know, so it wouldn't interfere with anyone else, and so they could mention it in their posts if they wanted to keep the continuity in case they were on the same timeline.

Now on to another novel...

A new post goes up last night. I almost didn't read it because it's by someone who doesn't interact with anyone else and to be honest I don't care for her writing. She's too sloppy. Too many mistakes. I'm considered to be a fluent paraphasic and I can take the time to make sure I've chosen the correct words and she gets 'define' and 'defy' confused. Please! It makes me gnash my teeth to read her posts. But this one was brought to my attention because it was snowing. No big deal, except for everyone else in the novel, it's the middle of spring.

Yes, we're all enjoying the beautiful spring, and she's trudging around in a snowstorm. Hmm, maybe it's one of those fluke spring blizzards. I live in Alabama and we even had one of those once. Nope, she's just in her own little world and not keeping up with the timeline. Apparently she missed that whole war on the planning boards when everyone was being so considerate of one another we just wanted permission to move ahead a few hours past two other characters who were lingering around lunchtime.

All I'm asking for is just an attempt at continuity. If you're interacting with someone you should probably decide if it's day or night so one of you won't comment on the beautiful sunrise and the other be admiring the full moon. And even if you aren't writing with anyone else, don't create a blizzard in the middle of spring. That's putting up a big banner on your post telling everyone else in your novel that not only don't you take the time to read what they are writing, you basically don't give a damn.

That said, I think I'll go write a completely unnecessary post where I'm enjoying a perfect spring day or if I can't pull it off ask one of my writing partners to do it.

No comments: