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As I work on my continuity guide, I've put up numerous tweaks and fixes to Too Much Love where continuity strayed a bit too far. Most of them are minor - characters given two different names (or in the case of Threnody's father, three different names) have gotten their name consolidated down to just one. Some dates have been changed. Some spelling has been fixed. So far, there's only been one really big fix worth mentioning.
In Chapter 43, Nick and Arwen are talking about their past and I managed to confuse myself about the year that Shelby moved to Brownfield Mills. It's established early on that she moved there in the summer after freshman year but over time, it became the summer after sophomore year. Once I realized my mistake, a lot of their discussion had to be rewritten. So if you read chapter 43 more than once and their discussion seems to have changed, it has.
There are still a number of continuity errors I've elected not to correct yet because they have low impact, but high effort to fix. Specifically, Connie Carlyle's name is spelled three different ways (Carlyle, Carlisle and Carlysle) and SSCS alternates between being Stryker-Stone Concierge Service and Stone Stryker Concierge Service.
Assuming there's another draft of Too Much Love (and there would need to be before I released it as an eBook,) I will go back and do my best to fix those, but for now, I've decided to focus on finishing the continuity guide and getting back to telling the story.
There's some advice I wish I'd had before starting Too Much Love (and should have inferred from previous works.) When starting a long story with a lot of moving pieces, particularly for a site like SOL, also start a continuity document.
This is an artifact borrowed from comic books and soap operas - two other media that distribute "unfinished" work in a serial fashion. Eventually, a work gets too long for any one person to keep in their head even if they wrote it all and questions like "How long did Shelby live in Brownfield Mills?" and "How old is Pilar?" become increasingly difficult to answer.
As I posted chapter 47 and finished writing the first draft of chapter 52, the number of continuity issues that have slipped into TML are becoming a real problem. To combat this, I'm taking the time to pull together a continuity guide. It contains the following:
* a brief scene-by-scene summary of the published work including the date the scene took place and the viewpoint character
* an alphabetical list of the major characters with crucial biographical details and a list of what they did in each scene they appeared in
* a list of minor characters who were named and the section they were named in
* a list of settings central to the story
* a list of "stuff to know about" - things that aren't characters or settings, but are crucial to the story.
Based on the first two days of work, this will probably take about two weeks to assemble. If I'd started it at the beginning, it would have taken less than an hour each time I published a chapter.
I put the finishing touches on the first draft of chapter 52 of Too Much Love around three o'clock this morning. Since my posting schedule has been to put up one chapter a week whenever I have a chapter available, I checked to see when I actually started posting this behemoth.
Chapter 1 went up July 5, 2017. Too Much Love is now over a year old. At 45 posted chapters, 1,299 pages, and 532,553 words, it's also already the longest story I've ever written. And my best estimate is that it's about half done.
I'm still not sure what I'll do with it once I get to the end - possibly carve off pieces of it to release as eBooks, maybe go mad and try to edit the whole thing for release as a single volume.
Still having a ton of fun writing about Nick Coyle and the Stone family.
Anyone who's written enough sex scenes knows there are only so many ways to describe a man's member in fiction. For my fellow ink-stained wretches struggling with this problem, there's a bit of an homage in Chapter 42 of Too Much Love.
Feel free to use any of Arwen's terms in your own writing without terms or conditions. (I might like a shout-out if anyone actually uses "capacious rod," though.)
A several readers have commented on, there's clearly a lot of backstory behind Too Much Love. I've been using the Stone family for writing exercises, role playing games, and experiments since the 1990s. There are about thirty unfinished stories in my hopper that involve the family in some way.
In the first draft of Chapter 44, there's a scene where Shelby casually reveals a major detail about her past to Alexis. In a more melodramatic story, it would be a major life-changing reveal, but Shelby is taking it in stride.
It's one of a number of places in TML where a reader could think, "That's got to refer to another story." And it's true. But that doesn't mean the story is out there. Other than *Liaison Services*, there are no other stories about the Stone family out there yet.
Realizing that he would never have time to write all the novels in his own head, Kurt Vonnegut bequeathed many of them to his fictional alter ego, Kilgore Trout. Similarly, with 400+ unfinished (and in many cases barely started) stories in my hopper, I have to acknowledge that I'm never going to write most of them.
I'll probably never write the story of Sherman "Tank" Carson and his ex-KGB lover during the waning days of the cold war. I have notes for it under the title "Honeypot" in my hopper, but I never seem to write the ones that require a lot of research (pretty much anything not set in modern-day America or a wholly made-up world like New Rome.)
That being said, I have been planning a series of "supporting short stories" to come after Too Much Love and before its sequel Jester's Ransom. The only ones I know I want to write for sure are The Ransom of Threnody Ferrari-Stone which tackles Threnody's kidnapping at age sixteen and Teenage Dirtbag, which explains who Shelby's ex Beck is and how he got so fucked up. (And yes, it more than alludes to the Wheatus song of the same title.)
I haven't solidified the rest of the list, but I've started writing those two in parallel with TML partly to explore for my own sake what actually happened. If you're reading TML and have a bit of backstory you'd like to see explored in more detail, drop me a line.
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