A lesson for writers, including me

I began reading the books in a popular series when the first book was published in 1992. The series is one of my favorites. The books are well written, with well-developed characters and storylines that hold the reader’s interest.

Because books in a traditionally published series are published once a year, I usually read only one book a year. However, that changed recently when I had more spare time than I knew what to do with. Over several days, I re-read six of the books in that series in the order they were published. The events in the books take place within a few years.

That’s when I discovered an inconsistency in a recurring character’s marital status. In the first book, the character is married. In a book published two years later, the character has been divorced from his wife for over twenty years. According to a more recent book, he hasn’t seen his ex-wife in about thirty years.

I wonder why the author didn’t catch the discrepancy, not that it matters much to me. The series is still one of my favorites. However, let that be a lesson to writers (including me): Always create bios/timelines for your characters, especially if you think you might write more than one book about them. And refer to the bios when you’re writing subsequent books.

And, yes, I’m probably the only one who will ever notice the inconsistency.

About WestWordArizona

Writer, editor, originally from Berkshire County, Massachusetts, now living in North San Diego County, California.
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