Thursday, May 11, 2006

Keeping Up With Characters

I have a number of important characters in a couple of stories that are going to cross back and forth -- some not so important ones who will too. It can get really hard to keep up with all of the names, not to mention the hair colors, eye colors, cars they drive, jobs, and all of the rest. I’ve used a storyboard for a long time, but it was across the room and hard to put every thing on.

So…I decided to try something new, and it’s working out great.

I save pictures from sale papers and magazines, or even sometimes print some up from a website. I use those pictures to find my characters. When a picture yells out a character’s name to me, I glue it to a sheet of paper, write the character’s name on the top of the page, and then other needed details at the bottom or down the side, like eye color, height, weight, hair color, character traits, ect… on another sheet I can do a whole character chart if I like, on another I can write a little of the history or such of this character. On another sheet I can glue a picture of his home, his car, his pet, something that is special to him, ect…

I slip each page into a thin plastic sheet protector, then put them in a notebook. I can flip through at will, move order as I like, add anything new, and never have to worry about keeping up with all of those characters’ information again. If in chapter one of my story Uncle Charles has a bald spot, clear blue eyes, drops g’s on the end of words, walks with a limp, and has a brown and white dog named Puddles, I know Uncle Charles will still be the same in chapter twenty or book number two, and so will Puddles.

Sure saves me a lot of back tracking and trying to remember. (Smile)


Kelley said...

What a great idea! I'm working on my first MS at the moment and have a few characters that I need to keep straight. After I'm done here I'm going to start a series. I'll have to try your idea.

Charlotte Dillon said...

Best of luck with that first MS, Kelley, and with the series. (Smile)

Kelley said...

Thanks Charlotte! I'm having so much fun.

Anonymous said...

I have come to your blog as a result of the excellent photos that were sent to me. I wanted to compliment you on your wonderful website and the series of photos with such descriptive explanations. I have over a dozen email-lists and I am sharing your site-address with all my friends.

The idea of finding and keeping your characters' pictures is SO creative! I write a little poetry, myself, but so far not novels for me :)


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