“Life is like a Math test: if it’s easy, it ain’t right.”
Hello there! Long time no see.
It has been a while since my last post, but that’s because life has been mind-boggling-freaking-insane busy, hence the quote above. But nevermind that: I’m BACK, and I’ve learned a bunch of interesting stuff while I was away. Stuff which you should know too. I plan to share this gained knowledge in installments, so I guess this is the first one.
Sit back, have some wine, and let’s roll.
Coherence: Making Things Fit
Coherence is probably one of the main issues that afflict both newbies and experienced authors. Without coherence, your plot sounds fake and your characters unreal. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
But how do I know if I have a coherence problem?
You kind of do, and you kind of don’t. Deep down you know that the twist you wrote is not believable, that your characters are not behaving according to their personality, and that the event which just happened seems extremely forced (not to mention it doesn’t fit in the world you built at all.)
Side note: One character cannot meet another and automatically become best friends without a bonding event. They just can’t, all right?
Anyway, as writers, we have an idea of what’s going on, but no clear picture. We’re too wrapped in our own work to see what’s going on.
Holly Schnitzel! Is there a cure?
No. Every writer suffers from this condition, but you can develop a third eye. All you need to do is be blunt with yourself. Answer this question: If you don’t believe it, why do you think the reader will?
Being honest with yourself will save you a bunch of time down the road.
Okay, I’ll try.
All right then, thanks for the tip. Bye.
Wait, I’m not done yet.
So, you know your world and characters better than anyone else, right?
This means that quite often, what’s obvious to you isn’t obvious to the reader, and because of that, many writers forget to properly introduce events and characters in their books. They miss a freaking great opportunity to make the reader sympathize with their story.
What? Readers don’t read minds?
No, they do not. But, don’t fret: all you need to do is write in a clear way (both grammatically and conceptually). This happens to be the foundation of effective communication, and a very handy tool for freelancers who aspire to earn money with writing.
Good so far?
Yeah, I guess.
Fantastico. So, coherence blindness affects 100% of writers. I’ve been there, still am and will be. It’s absolutely normal. We can develop a third eye, and write in a clear way, but that’s still not enough.
Seriously? What then?
See, the absolute BEST medicine against this affliction is a good Critique Partner/ Content Editor (see here for more info on CPs and editors). If you don’t know what a content edit is, fear not, that will be coming in the next post.
And voila. Problem solved.
Until next time,
Wait, don’t go! You said you’d pay me if I asked you these stupid questions. Hello? Anyone here? Goddamn it…