Sunday, April 5, 2015

KEEPING TRACK OF MULTIPLE CHARACTERS, EVEN THE WALK-ONS

fuzzy character detail, story, writing, am writing, novel, screenplay, screenwriting

Character Confusion

In a long or complicated story, it's easy to lose track of the details about minor characters. When the character traits are fuzzy, you can bring back the focus with a character file.

This tweet arrived on twitter: I hate it when I forget what some of my side characters look like and I have to hunt through 150 pages or so to find it. There is a way to avoid this time-wasting activity when you want to get on with the story.

Steps to Keep Track

  • Create a character file. 
  • Use a word processing program and index each character in your story. 
  • Number the pages. 
  • Add characters by name alphabetically. 
  • Each time you add a new character mark the name for indexing.
  • Create an index at the end of your character list.
  • Create an index at the end of your character list. 
  • When you add a character or add new information about a character re-index. 

 Yes, it takes time to set this up.  But, once it is set up it take seconds to find out which of the three construction workers had the blond ponytail.

Character Index 


All you have to do is go to the index, find the page for the character and then go there to recall details. For each character list name, age, distinguishing physicalities.  For the main characters, you can add personal history and all the details, favorites, things that tick them off, etc.

As your story progresses it is easy to add a character  And quite simple to check details as you work along, even 150 pages later.

Zara Altair