I was planning on writing a nice long article about how important organization is when writing an eBook of over 300k words, especially if the action takes place over a long timeline, several continents, and involves hundreds of major and minor characters. Just trying to not repeat names is difficult, much less keeping track of multiple relationships and various underlying threads of themes to ensure consistency.
I thought about posting an article about this because of the comments I received from R.B. Hatch and Jo Bryant about my Character Worksheet. The comments are much appreciated and I would really like to hear how other authors have tackled (or failed to tackle) the problem of keeping everything straight.
Here’s a case in point about why organization and detail is important: I have a character who is initially described as wearing glasses. Three hundred thousand words later, when reediting the entire novel (now broken into a trilogy) I realize that the initial description is the only time I mention his glasses. This probably happened because whenever I see the character, he has glasses on, so I assume the reader sees him the same way. At this point I have to decide if glasses are important enough to actually interject at various points along the storyline, or do I just not worry about it and assume that the character’s glasses don’t matter, that they aren’t essential for the reader understanding who the character is.
Okay, so you may think that glasses aren’t important. What is important is to ensure that all the details that let the reader see your character the way you do remain consistent. Some writers develop worksheets that go into exacting detail about their characters and locations, even detailing information that may not be included in the text. Detail that gives the character structure, fullness, and life. As authors, we each need to make decisions about what is important for our character, locations, and storylines.
For now, I’ll leave it at that. I started out this blog by saying that “I was planning on writing” an article and that time had frittered away from me, but instead it seems I’ve captured the gist of what I would have written anyway.
Please let me know if you have something to say about organization in your story writing, or for that matter a comment about anything else I’ve posted. I’d really like to hear from you.