Now that I’m a solid 1/3 the way through the editing of Sly as a Fox, I’ve gone back to make sure everything is consistent. 2 pm is not before 10 am.
A blizzard isn’t suddenly warm and sunshiny. Okay, never mind that one. Bad example. Especially in the Midwest.
A character who was Mary, but has had her name changed to Erielle can’t ever be called Mary again. She must be Erielle in every instance in the story. Name changes of characters is very common, by the way.
Brown hair must remain brown throughout, unless the character actually dyes it in the story.
A bag can also be another term for a backpack and vice versa. But not when there’s also a sports bag involved.
Consistency is the number one thing that trips up readers. It’s what causes them to either keep in the flow of the story, or get confused so badly they put down the book. And never pick it up again.
And sometimes, being forced to be consistent affects everything in the book. It can force the writer to completely rewrite scenes. It can change the ending.
That’s why I run through consistency in the first edit. I need everything straight and square as I head toward the ending or else I can’t edit the final scenes correctly.