This one is really tricky, because everyone has their own unique method of storing information. A long time ago, I decided the best way for me to handle all the information I had about my character was in a 3 ring binder. This works for me. One advantage is I have all the information in one spot. When I decided to make one of the novels into a series, I had all the research about clothing, food, housing, etc assembled in one place. I just transferred the information to another binder. Each binder bares the name of the book, and I have computer generated descriptions of characters in the binder.
I have one section for the main characters, one for important secondary characters and a third for the character who just walk on for a scene or two. Yep, a lot of work, but it works for me and that’s my secret. It works for me. A friend uses 3/5 cards and another sticky notes. A couple have talked about using the sticky notes program you find on the computer. However, I like things about one character in one place, and the extra information about the novel there two. My binders, depending on the size of the book, can be small, or like the one I’m working on now, full of info. One of my characters is trying to kill the hero. I know why, my readers won’t for a log time yet, but I have all the information about why and how in with that character. I even have a couple of psychological studies I found on the type of personality this character possess.
Writing a book is not a simple process. There’s a tremendous amount of research that can go into a book, especially if you want the book to contain real characters, and that’s what this whole beginning is all about, building real characters.
However you decide to keep your information together, make plans at the beginning to the book, not half way through. I’ll suggest the Boy Scout Motto here. Be prepared. Oh, you may decide you’d rather try a different method with your next book, but start with something that you feel comfortable with. As an ex-school teacher the binder made sense for me. After twenty four books, I’m still using that method. It works for me. Find one that works for you and stay with it. You’ll thank your lucky stars if you ever decide to do a series.
Well, we’ve covered most of what I’ve learned about characters. I think will take a look a plotting next. Another one of those things that make or break a book. and also one of those things you can do a thousand ways. So, on Monday, I’ll describe some of my early plotting adventurers. Prepare to be amused. I did a lot of that all wrong for a while.