View Full Version : Keeping track of things

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

March 23rd, 2002, 09:46 PM
when you write in our genre, there is alot to remember and keep notes about since we are building whole new worlds. at first, i used to just keep notes in a few folders in a draw, but now i'm finding that its much more effective keeping maps, snippets of info and sketches etc in a big scrap book.

so what are some of the methods you guys use to keep track of things?

March 23rd, 2002, 10:33 PM

First off, a basic outline, or at least where the story begins and where it ends. Or roughly where you hope it will end. That can change as most writers know, especially when one character hijacks the story http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

Bios of main characters. I tend to give them a past present and future. As what has happened, or will happen forms their character.

Physical appearance of characters eye colour etc. Nothing worse than changing the hero's hair colour or height half way through!!

Maps of the land,cities, ruins etc and/or written description, infact both if possible.

If to reach the run down inn where the hero meet's his side kick you can only do down one street and it's on the west end, note it down. Else you might find yourself going east down another street.....

I am a half decent artist so I tend to draw and paint a lot of the details it helps me. Or get pictures of places, deserts, rivers etc. I find if I can see it I can describe it. Or pick some element out that gives an impression of the place.

Laws, customs, manners and beliefs of your world, most important. The way the people would interact to these and the affect on their lives.

Clothes worn by various ranks in society.
Typical weapons/armour used in that society, are they different from rank to rank?

Methods of transport, coinage, weights and measures etc.

Weather, most important if the story is set in summer, don't suddenly have a snow storm!!! unless its a magical one http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

I place my info on printed out cards in plastic covers so I can pull one out as I am working.

I also have folders of basic reseach, which can come in for various stories. i.e. Clothes, weapons, construction of castles and layouts of cities and towns from pre Roman to present day of all cultures.

My last work, was set in a very harsh winter, In fact the story went from a warm indian summer, through a bitter harsh winter, to a quick fast thaw. The main element was a siege of a city. So to give colour to the story, the affect of the weather on both sides was important.

Not reams of description, just a character swearing when he placed ungloved fingers onto a metal breastplate, and they nearly stuck. A battle on a frozen river, how the seige towers plunged through the ice!

I don't use all my detail, but it is there to be used in odd words, and reflected in my character's reactions to things.

In fact I have made some good friends over the years in the course of my research.


[This message has been edited by Holbrook (edited March 24, 2002).]

March 25th, 2002, 04:43 AM
I keep two files for each planned novel: ideas and names.

The names include descriptions and place names too. The ideas are everything i've thought of and/or chapter by chapter summary (subject to change). I also have general character and place names lists and a myriad of small pieces of paper with ideas on them that I intend to type up when I get around to it.

The rest is in my head if I know I can remember it. It's good to make things up as you write though. I always add things in and go back and change things because I've just created new inconsistencies.