The Case of the Disappearing Weapons #Fantasy

Today, I have the honor of having Lori MacLaughlin here at the Town’s End! She just released a new book and I’m stoked to be able to share it all with you. Now, take it away Lori!

Thank you very much, Loni, for having me on your blog!!

I write fantasy adventure. Traditional fantasy novels tend to run long, compared to other genres such as mysteries, chick lit, or horror. They can run up to 120,000 words or more. My second book, Trouble By Any Other Name, weighed in at around 164,000.

With stories this long, continuity can be a challenge. When you’re working on page 510, it’s hard to remember all the details that happened back on page 86. And it’s particularly difficult if you’re writing in multiple points of view. Keeping track of who knew what and when they knew it can make anyone cross-eyed.

Heroine Jane is just about to ride into the city to confront the good guy gone bad, but wait — Jane doesn’t know of his treachery. Hero John was the only one privy to the conversation in which the GGGB’s treachery was revealed.

I had several characters who knew various parts of the backstory, relating what they knew to other characters at different times. I had to be really careful to not have characters say things or act on knowledge they shouldn’t have known.

The same thing can happen with props. My biggest problem was disappearing weapons. My main character lost her weapons a few times and sometimes borrowed other people’s weapons. I had one scene where she threw a dagger at an enemy, but then I realized during a later read-through that, oh, wait — she can’t be throwing a dagger because doesn’t have one. She lost hers a few chapters ago.

And then when you start revising? Good luck remembering which details were kept and which were cut.

My solution has been to keep a notebook handy. When I finish a round of edits, I do a complete read-through in as short a space of time as I can. This helps keep everything fresh in my mind, and I find it much easier to spot inconsistencies. I jot down notes as I go along to keep track of any plot threads that have the potential for confusion. This is also good for spotting word repetition. I make notes about that, too, and go back later to replace some of the offending words.

Once I’ve done all this, I hire a good editor to go over it again. Nothing beats a fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective.

Has anyone else run into these kinds of issues? How do you handle it? I’d love to know.

About the Book

Trouble By Any Other NameTara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She’s yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn’t dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?

With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara’s sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she’d killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.

Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.

TITLE: Trouble By Any Other Name
Sequel to Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble
AUTHOR: Lori L. MacLaughlin
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2016
GENRE: Fantasy

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

About The Author

Lori L MacLaughlinLori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She’s been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids’ shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she’s not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

You can find her here:

Website/Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Google +

Woot! Thanks for stopping by, Lori! I know I’ve changed a ton of stuff and have lost track a few times. What about all of you? Have you ever had troubles with losing your weapons?

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

35 thoughts on “The Case of the Disappearing Weapons #Fantasy

  1. Great post! Thanks for hosting Lori, Loni 🙂 I am on the opposite end of the spectrum and my novel came in at 60,000 but I have the same problem in keeping track of who knows what and when – because I know everything! Like you, Lori, I have a notebook and post-its everywhere when I’m going through the story. Wishing you success!

    • Thank you! Yes, that’s another problem. The writer knows all the plot twists and it can be hard to remember that just because you know something, that doesn’t mean the character knows it. I’d be lost without my notebook.

  2. I can’t imagine keeping track of everything in a book that long. That’s more than two of my books put together. I’d mess up all the time.

  3. Thanks very much, Loni, for having me over today!!

  4. I hear you! Spreadsheets or scrivener can be lifesavers in this regard. I like to keep a detailed outline of each chapter with notes about those kinds of details. Then I don’t have to reread everything to remember where it’s at.

    • That’s great, Crystal! I applaud your organization. You’ve got it down to a science.

  5. I’ve never written a book that long, but I can imagine how difficult it is to keep track of everything. Your use of a notebook sounds like a good idea.

    • Thanks, Sherry! I’ve always been a notebook person. I haven’t made the transition to the high tech way of doing things. Maybe someday.

  6. That’s quite the length. I’m not sure if I could keep track of everything. It’s bad enough that I completely forgot that a character, who normally wears her hair in a bun, was supposed to have it down until I read through the next chapter. Minor detail, but still one that bothers me and I’ve made a note to go back and fix it (I try not to edit chapters that are out to critique groups).

    Though most of the disappearing weapons that I deal with regularly are because of the rogue. XD

    • Sometimes those details just slip by no matter how many times we read through them. I’d have to go back and fix it, too. 🙂

  7. Congrat Lori! I made a notebook with all the tidbits too, it sure does help!

  8. I’ve definitely never written anything that long! I certainly wouldn’t blame you for having a hard time keeping track of every single detail.

    • And what’s worst is when you’re sure you’ve written some detail about something, but when you read back through, you can’t find it for the life of you.

  9. Oh yes, I, too, write fantasy and I am no stranger to this issue. My current WIP weighs in at 325k, and a lot of my editing notes were things like “When did she find that out? I don’t remember writing that scene.”

    Best of luck with your new release!

    • Ha, ha, that cracked me up. 🙂 Wow, 325K. That’s massive!
      Thank you, and good luck with your lengthy WIP!

  10. I write stuff down too: in my email drafts, notebooks, index cards, all over the place. I need to learn to keep it more together, b/c then I’m hunting around looking for it all. =)

    • Ha, ha, yes, and I hate it when I can’t find something I know I have somewhere. Drives me nuts.

  11. You caught my eye with the use of the “Trevillion” name for one of your characters. My mother’s maiden name was “Trevillian” which is among a few variant spellings. Since it’s a somewhat unusual name, I’m always interested when I see someone with this name in any of its forms.

    Best wishes with your book. I’m sure the continuity can present a challenge to a writer, but it’s not something that you’d want the reader to question so it’s best to keep it all in check.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    • That’s interesting! I’ve never met or heard of anyone with that last name. I’ve always liked the sound of it.

      Thank you. Yes, I agree.

  12. I love my notebooks! I have such a lousy memory for details, and I’m writing those shorter, chick stories! I can’t imagine keeping up with the details in 500 pages.

    • Notebooks work really well for me. Some things I can remember, but others just go right out of my head if I don’t write them down.

  13. Oh my gosh, yes! And injures! I forget about those. I’ll stab someone in the side then a few pages later they’re going around just fine.

  14. Unfortunately, the only times I lose weapons is when the computer game I’m playing hiccups and I lose all my possessions.

    Other than that, trying to keep track of all those story details can be daunting with the longer stories. Make sure you let plenty of crit partners check your story over for inconsistencies.

    • Oh, that’s aggravating when that happens.

      Yes, they’re good at that. Very helpful.

  15. HA! My characters are always losing their weapons and then miraculously having them when they need them! And I don’t realize it until the next (or next) read through.

    Congrats on the release, Lori! And thanks for the host, Loni! Great post 🙂

  16. Fab post. Nice to meet you and learn more about your book. (Hi, Loni! *waves*) Love the idea of a notebook to keep track, yet, I still am not sure I’d be able to do it! Like a few other writers here, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum where my “novels” (books? novellas? short stories?) tend to be on the shorter side. 🙂

    • Nice to meet you, too! I think I’d still need a notebook unless the stories are really short. I’m always paranoid I’m going to forget something.

  17. Eeyup, I’ve been there. I’ve had characters gain and lose things without me realizing it, I’ve had characters change eye and hair color midway through a book, I’ve even forgotten what color the sky was somewhere and found I gave it three different colors over the course of a story. >_< This is why I do a lot of editing, and why I now keep better notes for that sort of thing. My plotting documents are long, but I use them to keep track of a lot of details.

    • It’s amazing how that can happen, but happen it does. I’d rather have those long plotting documents and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing I’ve got my details straight.

  18. Hooray for Lori and Loni! (It was just as fun to type as I imagined.) 😀

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