Honestly, I'm probably the last person to tell anyone how to organize their writing life. However, I have come up with a few tricks to make it look like I'm more organized than I really am.
Since I'm a project hopper, (I move from one story to another rapidly & at random), I have to keep track of characters, time line, chapters, etc. I keep 3 small notebooks on my desk for this purpose. One has finished projects, the second has unfinished projects & the third has notes & miscellaneous other stuff I need to put my hands on quickly.
For detailed information about my characters, I have an index card file. On these cards, I list a variety of information. (Example below)
Name: Parents' Names:
Boyfriend or girlfriend name (or spouse) Siblings: (If any)
Children: (If any)
Family: This is like cousins, aunts, uncles. Age:
Coloring: (Major importance!)
Actor/ Actress they look like Series: (Since I have more than 1, also important)
Employer/ Job Title
Friends & Co-Workers
Also In: (For any other books they are in. Since I use mains as secondary characters in other books, this is also quite important.)
You'll notice that on the front I have an actor or actress name. This helps me hear a voice, see movement, gauge speech patterns, gestures, etc. Sometimes this will change as a novel progresses, but generally I keep to the same person.
Everyone will have different bits of information that are important to them, so the contents of the cards can be personalized. I'm simply listing what I consider important. Please let me know if you find this tip helpful and feel free to share your tips here.
copyright 2011 Dellani Oakes