As an editor and beta reader, it’s essential for me to help my authors by tracking inconsistencies for them. Complicated worlds need clear systems. In order to keep track of everything, I make consistency sheets for worlds and characters which include descriptions.
Whenever I find an inconsistency, I change the text color to red in my sheet and bring it up with the author later. I also make sure to write the page number of all descriptions to make these discussions easier and help me double check my findings. For connecting concepts or affiliations, I highlight them in matching colors. This method helps me keep track of the story’s complexities so that I more clearly see how things influence characters and where those influences could be strengthened. It also helps identify when these connections are inconsistent, unexplained, or unclear.
Example Character Sheet:
- Forbidden spell books club
- The Rivera Family
- Lore relevant descriptions:
- Related to Magic Town
- Related to a magical pendant
- Magical school: The Academy for Magicians.
- Magic Town: is a dreary place that often rains page 1. | Cobbled roads pg. 2 | tall crooked building page 3 | pleasant atmosphere page 4
- Magical school: The Academy for Magicians is located in Magic Town. A stone building covered in ivy leaves page 10 | secret door behind Alice’s closet page 22
- Another Magic Town
- Hometown of Bob page. 57
Types of Magic:
- Made up magic name: used throughout the Magic Land. page 7 | Bob uses this type of magic. Page 67. | pendant uses this kind of magic. Page 95
- Another made up magic name: Alice page 14, Rebecca page 15 and Leo page 15 use this type of magic.
Bob: Brown curly hair, page 2. | Desires, a magical pendant to break a curse, page 3. | Is a teacher’s assistant at The Academy for Magicians. Page. 17 | Grew up in Another Magic Town page 57.
Alice: Green eyes and dark skin, page 1. | She wears a family pendant rumored to ward off evil spirits, page 22 | She grew up in Magic Town, page. 27 | Is the leader of the forbidden spell books club, page 60
Rebecca: Has pale skin, page 5. | She trained in Magic Town, page 12. | Traumatized by spiders when she was ten years old and is deathly afraid of them, page 13. | Likes her hair in a ponytail, page 24. | Has a pet spider that she loves and she is not afraid of, page. 27. | Goes to The Academy for Magicians.
Leo: Raised by wolves, page 15. | Has a button nose, page. 15. | Childhood friends with Rebecca, page 16. | Has a pointed nose, page 27. | Secretly Rebecca’s brother page 110.
To any editors out there, I hope this will help! Perhaps you already have a different system that you use. Feel free to continue the discussion on mapping consistency in our Discord, or write a followup article on the topic.