Rewriting by accident...


Question: How do you remember that you had already wrote a paragraph, and you write it again, until you are editing and see the mistake?

Answer: Most of the time, you just hope to catch this type of error in the editing process.

The only other option is to regularly review your work as you write. For instance, you might begin each writing session by reading over what you wrote in the last session, and doing a little editing/revising at that time. Some people don't like doing this, however, because it slows the writing down.

It is probably inevitable that little errors will creep into a manuscript. Sometimes you forget what you wrote earlier and accidentally change a character's eye color or some similar detail later. (It helps to have a separate notebook on such details to refer to.)

Sometimes something is mentioned twice in your manuscript, and when you revise it later, you only revise the first instance and forget about the second. This creates what I call a "ghost of a past version." Sometimes these ghosts refer to old subplots that were abandoned, or plot twists that were changed, characters you meant to do something with and didn't, clues you changed your mind about, etc.

You really need a good editor who can spot continuity errors. You can also get friends to read through your work. Often, they can catch continuity errors you don't because you have a tendency to skim through sections you think you know too well.

Unfortunately, there are certain errors that only you can spot because only you know what's a ghost and what isn't, what you meant to change but forgot to.

It takes many eyes to catch everything.

Comments for Rewriting by accident...

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Aug 09, 2012
Hello again, and lots of questions while on vacation...

First I must say that I've read pretty much all that you have on your awesome site and my novel is shaping into something really, really good! I would like to know what a backstory is? As do you need to have one or more for the other charactors? Also the rule was to put an extra space after periods or colons but not now. So my word that I just wrote,"So," I had put a space after the period, do I do this or not? Then what do you mean by not putting hyphens at all in your draft, so--in my case--I should never use the hyphens'? Or just not at the end of a sentence? Also left side justification? I have no clue what this is all about? I'd love to get your take on my questions, for I'm consumed now with knowledge that I spent many years in school & never learned anything like this!

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