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Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

When writing a sequel or series with the same characters, do you ever have to refer back to your first book because you forgot what you wrote about a certain character?

I guess that I’m very fortunate in that respect. The voices in my head (who tell me what to write) keep a close eye on things and so far have managed to protect me from the readers messages that start like this,

you know you said in *** that “x” did/said/was/wasn’t “y.” Well…(insert the reason why that can’t be possible here).

Which means that I haven’t had continuity issues, although the potential has been on my mind as series have developed. Anything that looked like it might have been one always seems to resolve itself. Whether it’s in a sequel or a prequel. I’ve gone back over previous work, after the event and found that, somehow, it all fits together.

Now I can’t really understand this. In life, people forget things, as I’ve got older, I’ve forgotten details of what I did years ago, my wife or my children will remind me that, actually it wasn’t like I remembered. And not just me, if I’m feeling particularly brave, I might point out an error in my wife’s memory (Only joking dear).

What I’m getting at is that it’s not unreasonable to need reminding from time to time. Television and movie production companies employ continuity experts, people whose sole function is to trawl for errors and make sure that it all hangs together. You can be sure they wouldn’t be on the payroll if there wasn’t a need for them.

The only way that I can explain how I write four separate series and keep track of it all is that someone else is doing it for me.  

When I first expounded the theory that I was merely a channel for someone, somewhere, with a tale or two to tell, that I had no idea where the words were coming from, I thought I was going crazy. I was frightened to admit it, but I KNEW that I could never write that much, in that way, without prompting. Then I discovered that other authors thought the same about their writing process.

Now I’ve learned to trust the source of my novels and leave them to get on with it.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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6 Responses

    • Richard Dee

      I’ve learned that over the years, the best policy is to keep your mouth firmly closed. And leave the characters to tell me enough to keep it memorable. Thanks for the link, fortunately, I wasn’t drinking at the time.

  1. Lela Markham

    I used to think I might be a little crazy too, then I worked with social workers for 15 years. About five years in, I got brave enough to mention this problem to some professionals – coworkers I considered friends. Nobody thought I was crazy. They all wanted to know about my writing process and were particularly interested in how I DID NOT use our clients as fodder. At the time, I was staying very far back from that endless source of inspiration. Since I’ve left Behavioral Health, I’ve had Carl Sullivan of Transformation Project present himself and I recognize that he is a compilation of several of the clients I knew over the years. He’s not based on anyone, but he definitely borrowed characteristics from those clients. My job is to make sure he never directly identifies those people whose identities deserve to be protected.

    Anyway, my coworkers — including several psychiatrists and the primary screener for involuntary commitments — did not think I’m crazy. One social worker said “Writers are like successful schizophrenics who don’t have to guess if their imaginings are figments or reality. You know the difference. You’re sane.”

    Whee! Good to know!

    • Richard Dee

      Official confirmation is appreciated, Andorra Pett is an amalgamation of my family members and their ways. Once seen, never forgotten.

  2. P.J. MacLayne

    My characters are real good at pointing out missing pieces to me. Kind of like “Really? How did you miss this?”

    • Richard Dee

      I find it’s better to leave it up to them, as I never know what I’m going to type until I’ve done it and look up at the screen.

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