You know what I most often get stuck on when I’m writing? Details. I don’t mean details within a scene, how it looks or what’s going on. I mean thematic and plot details. Allow me to clarify with an example:
character (a) has problem x, y, and z,
character (b) needs to do 1, 2, and 3,
character (b)’s item 2 conflicts with character (a)’s problem x and z
if I allow character (b) to achieve item 3 then that will screw up problem y for character (a)
This is an oversimplified version of what I’m talking about, but you get the gist.
Now, I know there are programs in the world that have been designed with issues such as this in mind, that writers can use (*cough*, scrivener, *cough*) but I don’t need/want a computer to resolve things like this for me. I have always simply done it in my head. That was all well and good for a short story, novella or even one whole book. As I near the end of the full length trilogy, it’s becoming trickier to keep a tight handle on everything.
That’s the thing that plagues writers, we introduce all these elements into our stories, all these layers of conflict which makes for an entertaining read (we hope) but are a nightmare in reality. It’s like having a bunch of beautifully crafted kites in the air at one time while a hurricane blusters past and you try in vain to not let your strings cross and keep all those creations from crashing down into a tangled mess. It’s exhausting, frustrating and sometimes depressing.
What’s the solution? I don’t have a simple answer I’m afraid. I tackle it by doing frequent re-reads, going over and over what I’ve already put in place to ensure I remain consistent. Sure, an editor should be able to pick up on places where a writer misses something or makes a mistake, but I don’t like the idea of handing off responsibility for that to someone else, that’s just sloppy and lazy in my opinion.
So, if you’re a writer then feel free to share your advice on how you tackle such complications in writing in the comments, I'd love to hear other peoples approaches.