Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tips & Tricks for Tracking Series Details






I love writing connected stories. Not that I always plan them that way, but once I get attached to a set of characters, I’m reluctant to let them go. Besides, certain supporting characters often beg to have their stories told. Even unplanned walk-ons develop their own personalities, so much so that they keep . . . walking back on!

Consistency within and between books can become a challenge. Who exactly is this character related to? How did I describe him or her the first time? Where did I say this business or that house was located? What were their pets’ names?


So, with the passage of time and at least four series to practice on, I’ve developed a few devices to help me keep track of the important details. Here are four that I consistently rely on:

A character name chart. I write in Scrivener, so I’ve created a table-based template in which I enter each significant character’s name alphabetically twice—by first name, last name; then by last name, first name—if necessary, adding a word or two describing roles and/or relationships. As I start the next book in the series, I copy the chart into that Scrivener project and add names as new characters appear. Before moving to Scrivener, I used an Excel spreadsheet for this purpose, or you can create a similar table in Word. Here’s a segment from my Hill Country name chart. (You should be able to click on any of the images to see them in a larger window.)


A map of the community. If you’re handy with the drawing tools in Word or another program, you can create a map on your computer. I prefer having an editable computer drawing that I can link to my book files, but if you’re more comfortable using pencil and paper, that’s fine, too. The example below shows Juniper Bluff, Texas, the setting of Her Hill Country Cowboy and the next book in the series, Hill Country Reunion (coming February 2018). As various businesses crop up in each story, I decide where they’ll be located and add them to the map.



A running list of random characters and details. If a character is just a walk-on and not central to the story, I don’t clutter up my character name chart with that  information. Instead, I use a separate text file in my Scrivener characters folder, grouping names according to their role: various businesses and their owners or employees, names of pets, etc. In my Hill Country series, for example, the Serenity Hills Guest Ranch horses are listed along with photos found online to match the horses’ descriptions.

A story calendar. I use an Excel spreadsheet to create my story calendars, referring to TimeandDate.com for any holidays that fall within the story timeframe. For a historical series, obviously, my calendar will be set up according to the exact timeframe in which my story takes place. For contemporary novels, I rarely refer to actual dates, but my calendar is usually based on the year in which (I hope) my story will be published. The TimeandDate.com website is also a great source if you need to know phases of the moon (such as when your romantic couple is gazing up at the evening sky, or they’re running through a dark forest at night to escape the bad guys).

As my story unfolds, I jot brief notes in the calendar squares about what’s happening on any given day. This keeps me honest when I need to use transitions such as “two weeks later” or “the following Thursday.” For each consecutive book in the series, I typically just add on to the original calendar so that it’s easy to refer back if mention is made of something that happened in the past. Or if the plot calls for an event yet to come, it gets noted on the calendar so I can plan and pace the events leading up to it. By the way, an accurate story calendar is handy to have as a backup when the copyeditor questions your book’s timeline.

Here’s a screenshot of a portion of my calendar from Her Hill Country Cowboy, with details blurred out to prevent any spoilers!



If you’d like to create your own character name chart or story calendar, those templates are included along with other writing helps as part of my Novel Planning Excel Workbook, available for download at my website. Be sure to follow the instructions for preserving the original templates for future use.

How about you? Writers, any other tips you’d recommend for keeping track of story details, especially for a series? Readers, what are some of your favorite organizational tools and tricks? Join the conversation today and let me know if you’d like to be entered in the drawing for WINNER’S CHOICE of any of my books in print, including my September release, Her Hill Country Cowboy.


About Myra: Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they miss Texas bluebonnets in the spring and may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered doggies who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They have also inherited the “cat with a ’tude” their daughter and family had to leave behind when they recently moved overseas.
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111 comments :

  1. My organizational tools consist of a calendar with large boxes to write appointments or whatnot in for the month. Then I have a small dry erase board on my fridge to write any happenings during the week and finally, I utilize my memo pad on my phone for shopping lists, to-do lists, book review schedule and etc. I found those three things help keep me on track with everything. And I do still use old fashioned pen & paper...lol! The satisfaction of physically crossing off an item is well, satisfying! :-)

    Myra, thanks for sharing some of the ways you keep track of your current stories! I'd say you've got a good thing going for yourself :-) Please add my name to the book drawing, your newest one looks so good!

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    1. Trixi, I like to keep a calendar with big squares in my kitchen so I can quickly see certain things on my schedule. Most everything, though, goes into my computer calendar, which is shared across all my Apple devices. As they say, if it's not on the calendar or to-do list, it doesn't happen--LOL!

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    2. Amen to that Myra! My husband has learned over the years that if he wants me to remember to pick up this or that, or pay this bill or that, it NEEDS to be on the list or it doesn't get done, lol! So I try to write things down as I remember them right away or I'll forget. :-)

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  2. This reader loves lists. I have been known to write a list of lists. The large family calendar in the kitchen keeps us all on track. It's almost a diary of our life.

    Count me in thank you.

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    1. I rely on lists, too, Mary, especially for shopping and some tasks. And I still have calendars from decades ago with our own diary of what was happening day to day.

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  3. I carry a planner with me everywhere and a smaller version in my purse. I keep track of all appointments and special things I need to remember. I'd be lost without it. I can see how your tools help you keep your stories on track.

    Please include me in the drawing for one of your books. Thank you for the chance.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Hi, Cindy! Kind of makes you wonder how people kept track of their tasks and appointments hundreds of years ago. Or maybe life was just a lot less complicated back then, at least in some ways. I couldn't function without my calendars and reminders!

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  4. I am gobsmacked by your organizational skills... first, that you know how to DO this stuff... and then that you actually do it.

    You put my lick and a promise methodology to shame, Myra! This is positively BEAUTIFUL and neat. I am trying not to envy!!!!!

    Well done, my friend. And wonderful timely lessons for all of us!

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    1. We all do what works for us. Something's obviously working well for you!

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  5. Hi Myra! These are great tips. I'm impressed! I learned early that keeping track of your timeline is a must. I use yearly calendar I receive from organizations where I donate. Typically I receive four or five each year. Thanks for the templates!

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    1. Oh, I know, Jill. Around this time every year, the complimentary calendars start arriving in the mail. We use the wall calendars around the house, but the small daily planners don't get used much anymore.

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  6. Thanks Myra! I like to carry my characters over too. I am just getting ready to start organizing that info and wish I had done it all along. Will try these techniques!

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    1. Hi, Carrie! I need all the help I can get to keep track of story details. Problems arise when I think I can get by without looking back at my character info or timeline and depend on my memory.

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  7. OH MY GOSH!!! Why didn't you write this post when I first sold? This is AMAZING!!!

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    1. Hey, some of it is just trial and error and learning over time. My systems have developed and evolved over several books. We do what we must to keep the stories flowing!

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  8. And I love the graphic you did of your book in the meadow. You are soooo talented! Love your cover too!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Tina! I love playing with PhotoShop when I have a little extra time (or even when I really don't)!

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  9. Hey, Seekerville! I hope everyone in the path of Irma made it through okay. I know a lot of prayers have been going up all over.

    We had rain and wind all night, here on the outer edges. I was worried the power and internet might go out, but so far, so good. Things seem to be tapering off now. At least enough that the doggies could go out this morning to take care of business.

    Sunny days ahead, right? I'm ready!

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  10. Good morning Myra.

    I love this, but my favorite is the map. I hadn't thought of drawing the area. That would help even if my story's not part of a series.

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    1. Exactly, Connie! It really helps me visualize my characters moving through their setting.

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  11. Great tips, Myra! Thank you! I just finished my second Love Inspired series (6 books in this one and 7 in the other), so am ready to launch into my next one!

    Like you, I keep a story calendar to track when things happen (so I don't have a character say "yesterday you said" when it was 3 days ago).

    I also create a "family tree" so I can keep track of who everybody is in relation to each other. That really helps when stories are impacted multi-generationally.

    To go along with it, I have a one-page doc that tells me generationally when people were born, died, married, had key children, key events in their life that impact the modern day story, how old they were at the time of my main character's birth (if applicable), and how old they are now, if living, etc. That really helped in this last series when I had (including the kids) a family that extended back 6 generations and things that occurred "way back when" impacted several current stories.

    For this last Hearts of Hunter Ridge series, as part of the proposal submission, I also did a one-page overview of how the community was founded (a key player being one of the Hunter ancestors), what its struggles have been and currently are--key things I don't want to forget as I write book after book. I post the family tree, overview, etc., by my desk along with the current story's "Wanted Poster." (I think I wrote a Seekerville blog about that -- a tool Janet and I came up with at ACFW a few years ago--everything in a 1-page character nutshell).

    Thanks again for the ideas! The timing is perfect as I launch into my next new world!

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    1. Great tips, Glynna! I've also done individual timelines for characters, listing significant events in their lives from birth to present. Haven't made the full family tree, but I can definitely see how helpful it would be for those multigenerational stories.

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    2. I like your map idea--I've sketched one out once I've gotten into the series, but plan to start with one to begin with this next round--or at least before I launch into book 2 of the series.

      When I travel, I pick up real estate magazines from smaller towns and they often have very simplified maps that are great to use as a basis for a fictional town.

      If I have a property (say a ranch or other property that contains several buildings and points of interest--garden, woods, pond/lake, guest house, etc.) I draw up maps of those, too.

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    3. P.S. I LOVE the blue bonnets in your photo! I well remember driving through fields of blue some years on my way to visit my grandparents!

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    4. I do the same thing, Glynna--sketch out a ranch layout or house plans so I can make sure my characters always go through the same door or navigate the same buildings.

      And yes!!! I really, really miss those Texas bluebonnets!

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  12. Love this, Myra! I've never figured out Excel, but I'm excited about using Word to make a table. Can't wait to try it. I do keep track of the walk-on characters (found myself calling them drive-by characters the other day) in a spiral notebook, but I like your idea better. I sometimes "walk" through my town when I can't sleep, and that helps keep everything fresh in my mind. Thanks for such an interesting post!

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    1. Hi, Laura! Yes, Word can work pretty well for basic tables. "Drive-by" characters--love it! Glad you found some helpful tips here!

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  13. Hi Myra,

    I'm glad you are safe this morning. About the time I was exhausted from the continuous rain and wind last night, the tornadoes started. I've never lived through so many tornadoes one after the other. Crazy scary! I'm praying for those trying to get back to their homes and everybody affected by Irma.

    Great post and what a nudge to stay organized. I love drawing maps of my towns, and like Jill I use calendars to stay on track with my time line. I'm heading over to check out your templates now. Thanks so much!

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    1. Oh, no, Jackie--so sorry about all the tornadoes! So scary! I hope the worst has passed for you.

      Couldn't live without my lists, spreadsheets, maps, and calendars! Have fun with the templates!

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  14. MYRA!! Not only am I intimidated by your incredible charts, I am intimidated by Excel and Scrivener as well -- two tools I have never learned, much less mastered. :(

    QUESTION: Exactly how long (how many books) did it take you to put together such organized charts? I'm guessing you jumped to it on your first book in the series, based on your extreme organizational abilities!!

    Unfortunately, it took me till the 3rd book of the O'Connor saga to FINALLY put together a birthday/anniversary/children chart. Which is really a shame when you consider I have 15 main characters who are in and out of each story. Sigh. Slow learner, I guess. And trust me -- my chart is just a table and nothing fancy!!

    Color me VERY impressed, but then I already was! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, you obviously have done a great job keeping track of your series characters and details--oh my goodness!

      I think what got me started with the charts was when I HAD to plan out the entire book in order to write a proposal and synopsis. I needed something to spur my thinking, and many of the spreadsheets in my novel planning workbook stemmed from that. The rest just kind of evolved as needs arose.

      And I do love-love-love Scrivener!!!! It's great for keeping all the facets of a novel organized and in one easily accessible location.

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    2. I'm with you, Julie...I'm Scrivener and Excel challenged. I signed up for a great class at UDEMY just to learn Word!

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    3. Udemy has some great courses! Wish I had time to explore more of them.

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  15. Myra, this is a very timely post for me. I'm currently working on book two in a series. Not only is it important to keep track of who's who in the book, but I struggle with using names that sound too similar or having too many names that start with the same letter. I can see where your name chart would come in handy to help eliminate those issues. Thank you for the link to the downloads!

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    1. Oh yes, Rhonda. With the name chart you can see at a glance how many names you've already used that start with each letter. When I need to name a new character, I look for the empty spaces and go from there.

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    2. I was having trouble with that name thing in the book I'm writing. I kept finding myself starting names with the letter J. Not sure why.

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    3. What is it about J names? I married into a whole family of J names and then named both daughters with J names!

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  16. Great tips Myra. I really like your ideas because it is so important to keep all of these details where you can refer to them. Since I'm not as techy and you, I do keep track but on paper. I use notebooks and a big calendar I hang on the wall. I like the idea of photos of the characters and places I have in mind for setting. Thanks for these great tips and reminding me to keep track. Happy writing.

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    1. I add lots of photos to my files, too, Sandra. I need the visual aids!

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  17. MYRA, I am in awe of your organizational skills. With each book I read I become more appreciative of all the hard work that went into the writing of the story! BLESSINGS!

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    1. Thanks, Caryl! As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So it's mainly a matter of figuring out what you need and what kind of tracking system will meet those needs.

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  18. Hi Myra. How could I have not known you had all that awesome stuff on your website? Thanks so much! I usually just keep a page of notes that remind me what color of eyes a character has, etc. Your charts are much more organized and easy to access. Thanks for all the great tips.

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    1. Happy to be of assistance, Cindy! Have fun with the charts!

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  19. Myra, this is great. I don't think I could write a stand-alone to save my life. Well, I would if a publisher asked for one, but my mind just naturally swoops toward series. I'm fairly organized except for a few occasional slips (THOSE PESKY EYE COLORS), but I could stand to do more electronically and have it all in one place. I'm gonna do all of this! Thanks Myra! I'm "pantsing" the second book in my Hilltop Christmas series, I was going to be my traditional plotting self on this one but the characters just took over, love it when that happens, so I'm structuring as I go along. Need your tips, I've already forgotten the name of Hilltop's Catholic church, I hope it's St. Dominic's because that's what I've got down, ha ha. Almost finished Hill Country Cowboy but would love a chance at one of your other books, best, KB

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    1. Gotta love pantsing, KB! It's such a fun journey of discovery! And I know all about mixing up eye colors. That's what I get for making notes and then NOT referring back to them at crucial points in the story! Those systems are only as effective as the writers using them--LOL!

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  20. Love this informative post! I always find myself having to go back and forth to find those details. This makes so much sense!

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    1. Hope it's helpful, Sally! We do what we must to stay on track. πŸ˜‰

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  21. What a great post, Myra. I am writing my first book and have discovered how easy it is to forget things. I am not nearly as organized as you are, and I don't even know how to do Excel. So everything I do is old school pen and paper in a notebook. But I learned quickly I needed to write down the names of every person who entered my story so I could mention them again, as well as names of places. I just started adding them to a piece of paper. Not very organized. I am going to download your sheets. Thanks for making those available. I am hoping to make a series of this book, so this will be helpful.

    I also bookmarked that time and date website. I love playing around with that anyway, and it will be helpful.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Hi, Sandy! If pen and paper is working for you, great! At least you're staying organized. Excel does have a bit of a learning curve, but if you're just doing a basic spreadsheet, it's not too bad. Good luck with your series!

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  22. Myra, I'm impressed with your organization skills! I have drawn maps of towns so I know where important buildings in my story are located. I always go to the calendar that fits the year of my historical novel for accuracy. I normally have all of this as hard copy, not in excel files. You've given us great examples and information. Thank you!

    Janet

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    1. You're welcome, Janet! It really is helpful to have those town maps and street layouts so we can stay consistent. It's also interesting when writing a historical to look up timelines to see what else was going on in the world during the time of our story.

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    2. Myra, I agree. It's fun to slip historical tidbits into the story. We have to do that to please Vince. :-)

      Janet

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  23. MYRA, fabulous post! Bookmarked, and now I'm off to share. What a wealth of info!

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    1. Glad to be of help, Cynthia! BTW, I'm really enjoying your newsletter--so full of hope and inspiration!

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    2. *SMOOSH* (THAT's a hug.) SO glad!

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  24. I need to do this SO BADLY, Myra.
    NOW...right now! I must do this.

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    1. Yeah, right, Connealy, Queen of the Western Series! Seems like you've been keeping track pretty well so far!

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  25. I am not anywhere close to writing a series, but I do keep track of characters in a list as they appear with their name, characteristics, etc. In one WIP I didn't realize I'd already named the heroine's mother and started calling her something else, then one look at my character list and she was back to what she was at the beginning!

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    1. Hi, Becky! Yes, those lists of details are indispensable. The trick is to remember to refer to them every once in a while. πŸ˜‰

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  26. Myra, this is such a help! Thanks for sharing examples of your charts! I've been using what I call a Planning Notebook for each story in a series. I used the notebook format within Word, which had tabs and color coding. I loved it. BUT NOW THEY DON'T HAVE IT ANY MORE IN WORD! Yes, that's my distress. I've tried One Note, which is what they provide now, but it's just not the same for the way I do things.

    I may just have to start doing a chart like yours. It would make the info easier to access. Right now I've been going back into an older Word file (notebook format) to copy and paste character information for a new WIP. But I'm just copying it into a regular Word document. Not easy to find topics without my tabs. :(

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    1. Missy, I used that tabbed notebook feature in Word for an earlier series. At the time, I really liked it. I could create a tab for each character, for different aspects of the setting, my timeline, and other necessary details.

      Now I find I can do most all that in Scrivener folders and files, and it's all right there in the binder next to my working story document.

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    2. Thanks, Myra. I don't use Scrivener to write, but I do use the cork board to plot. So maybe I can keep my planning notebooks in there. I'll check it out and try it! Did I understand you correctly that you can copy and move those planning files to future books in a series?

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    3. Yes, you just drag and drop. And the original stays where it was.

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  27. Such great tips here, Myra! I have very basic character lists, but what you've shared here? Fabulous. Thanks for making your templates available too. That is so kind!

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    1. You're welcome, Jeanne! Hope you find them helpful!

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  28. Myra, I bow to you as the queen of organization. I'm headed over to your website later...like tomorrow. Our Florida evacuees left this morning and are driving back to the Ft. Lauderdale area. Grandpa kept our grandson entertained while Grandma made his favorite foods. Then we all cuddled up and watched all the age-appropriate cartoons we had recorded for him.

    The most fun he had was running around in our big backyard with the dogs and then collecting "treasures" in a small watering can. Rocks, leaves, sticks, pinecones. Oh, and he helped Grandpa pick up tiny tree branches off the lawn and put them on the burn pile.

    Today? Grandma's sacked out on the sofa in her housecoat and drinking all the coffee she wants. RUTHY, how do you do this everyday??!!!

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    1. Grandkids will do that to you! Sounds like y'all had a great time, though--and you're making me miss mine even more. Hope the family finds everything intact when they get home. What a scary time, and so relieved it wasn't worse!

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    2. So am I! Our son stayed with the house that was built after the stringent building codes were passed. The only thing that happened was the storm knocked down a 4-foot palm tree. He picked it up and plopped it back in the hole. He never even lost power!

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    3. How cool is that! Project Guy and I were just talking yesterday about the new Florida building codes. Wondering how much it hiked the cost of construction.

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    4. Barbara, sounds like you had a blast! Grandma time sounds wonderful!

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  29. Myra, I've been looking forward to this post. Thank you. I'm glad to know that this works in Scrivener because I'm a disaster with spread sheets. And I love your idea of alphabetizing with both first and last names. I had not thought of that but it really simplifies things. And also your suggestion about separating out main from secondary characters for lists. Ahh, breathing a sigh of relief here. Thank you.

    I also use a time line. I use a graph paper notebook and this is very archaic but it is the result of my total frustration with spread sheets. The one I'm working with now has a sheet for each of 18 years and each character has their own pencil color. The stories only cover 4 of those years but I need to see what came before. I make a column for each month and then record what was going on in the character's life even if it's before they make an appearance in the story. For instance if a horse raced at age 3 I note it in the year it was born. Or if a child is going to appear at age 10 I note them in their birth year/month column. This is sort of intensive and if you have a better suggestion, I would covet it!

    Thanks for this post. Blessings

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    1. Barbara, I think I learned the first name/last name thing from a workshop given by Robin Lee Hatcher many years ago at one of the earliest ACFW conferences. It's an easy way to keep track as well as make sure you don't use too many similar-sounding names.

      I agree, spreadsheets can sometimes be overwhelming. I have at times spent way too much time trying to format one just the way I wanted. So now, once I get a format I like, I try to save it as a template so I can stop reinventing the wheel!

      No simple alternatives to your system, though. I typically make individual character timelines in list form, starting from birth through the years until when the story starts. However, here's where a spreadsheet could come in handy. You can have the years down the side, and a column for each character, so you know when various events happened in relation to individual lives.

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  30. Myra, thanks so much for this awesome post!

    I've always kept calendars on our counter top to write the daily things down. I'm a sticky note fanatic, too. I put them all over for reminders.

    I buy old unused calendars at garage sales to use as timelines for my book. I'm writing the first of what I hope is going to be a 3-book series, so I'm a beginner on the organization process. I use my storyboard and a small notebook for a back-up. I was over-using the R names!

    Going to your site to download your freebie...thanks so much. Enter my name for the drawing, please.

    Praising God and all the first-responders this morning for keeping my Florida families safe. They get to return to intact homes.My thought and prayers go out to the ones still in the path as the storm dies down.

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Nice that you can get those old calendars from garage sales, Marcia. That's a great idea for anyone who'd rather use hard copy than computer.

      Glad your Florida families made it through unscathed. There's always a recovery period as cleanup crews and utility personnel do their jobs, but praying things return to some semblance of normal very soon!

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  31. Hi Myra:

    As a Scrivener user I like your tracking systems. I used tables in Word for character names but Scrivener is much neater.

    I am about 50% into “Her Hill Country Cowboy” and I have been enjoying following the slow but detailed process in which the hero and heroine are falling in love while trying not to do so. My question is whether you chart the ‘falling in love’ arc of your hero and heroine or do you just let it happen when it does?

    Vince










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    1. I agree, Scrivener is so much easier for me to keep all the important details in one place.

      I can't say I really plan out the romance arc. Editorial restrictions say certain things, like the first kiss or saying "I love you," can't happen too early, so I try to pace the falling-in-love steps out so that those milestones come at the right times. Not always so easy!

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    2. Great question, Vince!

      Myra, you're right. It's tough to decide where to put things. My first manuscript had everything happening way too fast. :)

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    3. Yes, I've been called out on a too-early kissing moment more than once.

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  32. Hi Myra! I just started on my first ever series and I'm loving your tips! Thanks so much! Can't wait to read Her Hill Country Cowboy. :)

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    1. Glad to be of help, LeAnne! I love writing series, but keeping everything straight is always a challenge.

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  33. Great tips, Myra. You are so organized. I write character names and important information in a folder that I keep next to my computer as I work on stories in a series. Each story has its own charts, but none as nice as yours! I'm headed to your website to check out your Novel Planning Workbook. I'm so impressed,

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    1. Debby, we tend to forget how good old-fashioned paper and pen can be! :)

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    2. Right--sometimes the old-fashioned ways are the easiest and most efficient!

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  34. Myra, you're the queen of organized!! I do keep a list of names for all of my stories so that I don't duplicate a name/character and add details like birth dates and such to it also. :)

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    1. Hi, Sharee! I've noticed I sometimes reuse favorite character names from older books, just in different combinations. Keeping track of birthdays is a good idea, too.

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  35. Since my books are part of a series, I fully understand the importance of keeping characters, descriptions, and dates straight.

    Fortunately I have an excellent memory. But it would probably be a good idea to get organized because I'm tired of when I do have a question, having to look back into my previous books to find it.

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    1. Oh, yeah, Nicki, been there, done that! I usually think I know approximately where in the book or manuscript to look for a particular detail, but it's always a lot harder to track down than I thought.

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  36. Great post, Myra!

    Loved your excel workbook, especially the goal planning/motivation sheet. Thank you so much for sharing that and providing such a detailed article.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. You're welcome, Phyllis! Hope you find the workbook useful!

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  37. PS Please do enter me in the drawing.

    As a reader, I keep a spreadsheet (now on google docs, formerly in excel) of my books read.

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  38. I know it's terrible to admit this, but I'd just rather look it up than try to keep track of it. LOL! I do sometimes make notes, but for things like eye color, I will just look it up. For example, if I've forgotten whether my hero's eyes were blue or brown, I just do a search for brown and blue. It's pretty quick and easy. I did have to start a list of names when I was reading through my last book I turned in. There were so many minor characters that I couldn't remember who was who and how many times I was using each name.
    I'm just not good at keeping track of things. But my haphazard method does have some methodology to it, and it works for me. I guess. Ha!

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    1. I will say, I do have a worksheet I usually fill out before I start each book that has internal and external goals and motivations, biggest fear, etc.

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    2. That's what helps me plot, what little I do plot.

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    3. It would be easier, though, if I wrote down each of my character's ages and when each got married, for my series that's now 8 books long, starting on the 9th book. It's a pain having to look up how old they would be in which year, how many kids I said they had in the 5th book, etc.

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    4. But then I'd probably forget where I wrote it down/which file I put it in/where to find said file.

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    5. Oh, Melanie!!! Um, yes, you might want to start keeping some notes here and there, especially with your 9-book series!!! But whatever you're doing (or not doing), it seems to be working! 😍

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  39. Myra, these are excellent ideas and I plan to implement them now!

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    1. Hi, Edwina! Glad you found some useful tips!

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  40. Hey, Myra. Great blog post. How did you create your table-base template using Scrivener?

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    1. There is a menu option within Scrivener for creating a table in your text file. Very easy!

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    2. Thank you! Didn't know that was there!

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  41. I love my desk calendar at work. It's large, easy to see and read, and just lovely. Unfortunately I can't carry it with me and even a calendar notebook is too cumbersome so I use Google calendar for our household organization. It looks like fireworks everyday with all the color-coding, but it's working so far!

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    1. Color coding is great! I use it in my Apple calendars. Makes it easy to sort appointments and events by category so you can see only what you need to see at any given time.

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  42. This is amazing! There is always such wonderful teaching on Seekerville. Thank you, one and all!

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  44. Myra, I am only a reader and I am amazed at ypur organization skills. I do find that my big calendar is quite handy and my journal also is a must for me. Reading all of these suggestions from you and the others have given me many ideas.
    And yes, I would love to be entered in your book drawing.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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