The last line in one of my chapters said “Snow began to fall.” However, it was raining in the next chapter. Big trouble. I had to rewrite a little to make sure the weather in those two chapters was identical.
In your writing, if your character is wearing a T-shirt and shorts, then the next paragraph cannot have him shrugging off his coat.
You can save yourself a lot of work if you will plan these things out down to the minutest detail before you write.
It won’t be just a matter of substituting one word (rain) for the other (snow). No, what about the character’s physical and emotional reactions to the weather (He shivered…) or the fact that he/she probably wouldn’t be playing tennis in the snow?
I found it to be, quite literally, a house of cards. Maybe dominoes resting on each other would be a more accurate description. Just one tiny push—one small mistake—and it all comes tumbling down.
It is embarrassing to look at a proof and see gigantic mistakes staring right back at you. (I have literally hit my forehead with the heel of my hand more than once and said, “Duh!”)
If I need to slow down and miss a deadline, then so be it. Better to be late than produce a book riddled with mistakes.
You may think, “I’ll just leave these things for my editor to sort out and clean up for me.”
From my experience, that would be a big mistake. I had my book edited twice and I still found mistakes on my twelfth read through!
That’s right. I had competent editors, about eight months apart, go through my manuscript. Still, content mistakes were found as I read through them later. Part of the reason, I think, is that they don’t—and will never—know the story like I do. Or, maybe they just get caught up in the story and forget what they are supposed to be doing. I’m really not sure.
But, the point is this: Ultimately, it is your book. The buck stops with you.
So, be diligent. Be a perfectionist. Make it the best it can be.
Even if, like me, you end up being fashionably late.