The main reason I decided to reread all my books set in the Kyralia world was to refresh my memory and lesson the chance of writing inconsistencies into The Traitor Queen. By that I mean details of the world, characters and magical system, as well as plot, that don’t agree across the books. Of course, if I find any big inconsistencies in the already published books there isn’t much I can do about it, but I might be able to explain them away in The Traitor Queen. Sometimes doing that actually leads to some good ideas, just as the answer to really thorny plot problems are often already there in the story.
Fortunately, and to my great relief, I found no major inconsistencies. There are a few minor inconsistencies, however. Most of them nobody else has ever noticed. (No, I’m not going to point them out!) They annoy me, of course. I suspect every author wants their books to be perfect, but we have to settle with ‘as good as we can get it in the time we have’.
Some errors can be fixed when reprints are done of print books. I’ve yet to see how easily they can be fixed in ebooks. I’ll be letting both of my publishers know what I’ve found and hopefully it’ll be easy for them to make changes.
One piece of good writing advice is ‘write the book you’d like to read’. Ironically, if I do go back to read them I don’t fully enjoy reading them, and there are two reasons for that:
Firstly, stopping to mark errors and make notes constantly breaks the flow of reading. I can’t let myself get carried away with the story, or I might stop noticing problems.
Secondly, I get a terrible itch to tweak things. Partly this is just wanting the freedom to play with words – to shape them into even better sentences and paragraphs. Partly it’s because I’ve written many, many words in the ten years since writing the Black Magician Trilogy, and it’d be a bit sad if I hadn’t got better at it.
Now that I’m reading through what I’ve written so far of The Traitor Queen, I’m enjoying the freedom to play, the chance to avoid inconsistencies, and coming up with ways to explain those small ones from previous books. Also, to wind in some of the little details I enjoyed picking up on – like that the servants bring food to the magicians in lacquered boxes.
And surely there’s some way I can follow up on, in some small way, one fact I’d completely forgotten about: in The Novice Regin’s father was no less than advisor to the Elyne king! It’ll have no impact on the main plot, but it’s such an interesting fact that I have mention it somewhere…