Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Importance of Good Record Keeping on Your Characters

I started revisions on TCH last night! Yea me. I only worked on the first two paragraphs, and after having to go back to chapter after chapter, reminding myself of who and how everybody was related, I decided I had better put it down in one place.

I suppose experienced writers have already learned this very important lesson. I just did. I spent hours on my Sinclair and Crichton family trees. After that, I searched the web looking for pics of actors/people that resembled my characters, and made a separate "casting" sheet, if you will. This way, as I progress into revisions, and onto the next books, I can try and keep from having conflicting info (i.e. hair/eye color).

My next project is going to be a historical timeline. That will also keep facts from getting misconstrued. Let me just say that I am learning and evolving on a CONSTANT basis.

I tried to do one of those character charts on each individual, however, it was a bit daunting. I think as I write, I may do one on each main character as I get to them in revisions.

These are things that would have been nice to know about when I started. But seeing as how I was writing just for the fun of it, and NEVER actually thought this story would turn into a book (and then a few more), I didn't even give it any thought.

Hind is truly 20/20.


Mary Duncan said...


Boy, you said it! If you describe your characters one way, and three chapters later change the color of their eyes, it's always a bit disconcerting to a reader.

I keep a running tally on my characters, since I tend to have quite a few. How I spelled their name, what they look like, and especially how they speak (if they use an accent or have a lisp). I usually have pictures in my head from the get go on each of these people, so it's like calling up old friends by the time I'm finished with the story.

Time lines are very similar. They can get very confusing, especially in historical fiction.


Skeeter said...

An excellent idea. I've had this thought myself a few times, but then I would forget. Only later do I ask "Why do I have to keep learning these lessons"
a) the hard way, and
b) over and over again?