In serial publication, how do you keep your characters and plot straight through out the process? Do you find you have to go back and redo things on already posted chapters?
I have never gone back and changed anything. That’s not to say I’ve never wished to or that I’ve never found myself written into a corner, I’ve just never done it. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to my story and characters, and I have the worlds greatest pre-reader who keeps me on track. I occasionally do have to go back and reread things, but rarely more than one or two chapters back.
You tell me! I haven’t figured out the trick yet:)
That happens rarely. I have only ever contemplated doing that once, but haven’t actually done it.
That’s the blessing and the curse of writing fanfiction. Once it’s posted and read, it’s in stone, unless it’s a minor typo. These readers are so passionate, that they will notice if you tweak stuff along the way to fit the ever-growing/ changing storyline. And if you mention the change in a further chapter, I think you lose credibility in the eyes of the reader. So that kind of sucks. There’s been many times where I wish I would have done things differently because my plot would have been better over all, but it’s too late. (The legal stuff in HA. It was a mess! Lesson learned to consult an attorney BEFORE posting!)
That’s also were they blessing comes in. Once it’s down, that’s it and you don’t have the luxury of going back and fixing to accommodate your brilliant plot twist. It’s almost easier to wash your hands of it and move on.
In a traditional novel, you would have the story complete before it’s even edited. With fanfiction, you have to go with the flow and that process I personally feel, brings out the creative juices. It also creates some whacked out storylines, but that’s what we expect from fanfiction.
I’ve been guilty of forgetting details that I worked into my story. I misnamed Jasper’s father in ATJ so many times that I couldn’t even remember which was my original name for him. It’s embarrassing and it’s one of the pitfalls of posting chapter to chapter. You can’t really go back and edit for cohesiveness. Plot holes are bound to crop up that way. Often times readers will point it out and I thank them and go back. For the most part, readers understand mistakes like that and will overlook it if it happens once in a blue moon.
I add to my outline, if there’s something I think I will forget. I have a pretty awesome beta, and she seems to remember stuff. I have only ever had to go back and change something one time–I messed up the year.
There’s been a few hiccoughs along the way in my writing but nothing plotwise I felt the need to change. My characters are usually very fleshed out in my mind before I write and as I write, I strive to keep true to their characters along the way.
I think having a clear goal in mind and generally how you are going to get there keeps it straight.
As I write, I reread my previous chapters over and over again to make sure that I’m staying consistent with the voice and the characters. I have yet to go back and change things in previous chapters. I see the flaws as part of the process! That said, if I had to do it over again I would complete the writing before posting. It’s the best advice that I don’t take.
The only thing I ever go back and redo is if I have a typo or if a reader points out a mistake I made, which happens here or there, not a lot, thankfully. I generally don’t have a problem advancing my stories. They’re very clear in my head and I just sit down and write.
First of all, I begin to post a fic only when the first draft of the entire story is completed. This way, if I have to redo things on already written chapters (and it happens!), it doesn’t affect the readers, because the chapters aren’t posted yet.
I reread the chapters. A lot.
I rarely need to go back and change plots or specific details, unless I find in my research that I was in error (i.e. certain “isms” that someone from that culture has called me on, or a rule or historical fact that I discover after the fact).
I do however spend a lot of time going back to re-read chapters to recall timelines or things said or done by characters to keep things straight. Sometimes I don’t remember what my characters told me to write down!
That’s why I prefer to have a backlog of chapters, so if something needs to be corrected (or if you get a cool idea) – you’re able to adjust previous chapters to allow for that. I don’t do it too often, but once in a while.
As far as keeping characters/plot straight, for me, an outline and character profiles (even brief ones) are essential.