Here are a few tips to help you check for the consistencies in your story.
- Step Away – Any time you want to review something you have written, you need to step away from it for a time. When you’ve looked at anything for long enough, you can’t see it clearly. It’s too fresh. Put the work aside for a few days or even a few weeks. When you do that, preconceived ideas and thoughts are taken away and you can look at it as though for the first time. Inconsistencies become glaring issues. You’ll wonder why you didn’t catch it the first time. You might actually have to do this a few times with your work.
- Keep Notes – As you are writing, keep notes as to timelines, where characters are, and the plan for the plot. It recently came out how J.K. Rowlings outlined her school year for Harry. She had it laid out so there were consistencies in her story on which spell was taught when and used as well as locations and characters. That way she wouldn’t rush ahead or get the past mixed up. Everything was laid out perfectly for her to keep track while not tying her muse up too tightly.
- Get Other Opinions – Have other people read your work. Beta readers typically are looking beyond just enjoying the story. They help point out inconsistencies and areas that bother them as a reader. As they are not tied to the words, they can see beyond the personal connection and see the big picture. They can find the problem areas and point them out to you.
- Create a Map – This might be a map of the entire plot. It could be a family tree in order to keep the story lined up straight. It might even me a map of time, location, or items. Do whatever you can do check your story against so it works out well.