Patterns of flower petals are beautiful and, more interestingly, consistent. Just like your characters should be. Photo by Kate Ota 2019
I recently began editing my latest WIP and have been reading editing books and consuming as much how-to-edit media as possible. I decided a fun blog series may be posting methods I've found that have made my editing process easier. First up: editing for character consistency.
An online workshop hosted by the Mystery Writers of America- Pacific Northwest offered a character consistency sheet to use while editing. The example given in this (amazing!) workshop was nice, but didn’t cover most of what I need while editing. A few weeks ago, I mentioned working on character consistency using style sheets in Four Tips for Helping Your Writing Without Writing. So on a day I didn't feel like writing, and with inspiration from that workshop and some editing books, I made my own character consistency sheet. Feel free to use mine or make it your own too!
Please note: this is NOT a character background sheet. I specifically left off things like their family, their hobbies, or their favorite anything. However, this can supplement or draw from a background sheet you’ve already made. The character consistency sheet is about what comes up frequently on the page—their dialogue quirks, what they look like, how emotional they are, and their narrative voice.
Also keep in mind that different circumstances will make your character do or say different things. This is why the lines beside dialogue options are long. Maybe they greet friends with “Hey,” their boss with, “Hello”, and their grandmother with, “Good afternoon.”
Sorry these aren't downloadable, I don't have the website capabilities for that just yet.
Did you like my character consistency sheet? What are you adding to your own? Let's discuss in the comments!