Ever read a book, or re-read, and notice that one tiny detail that doesn’t match from what it is described as earlier on? One minute the character has blue eyes and the next they have brown. The door was on the right before and now it’s on the left. These are little details and they’re a pain to remember. I frequently find myself wondering: what color hair did I give that character? Did I give them a scar? Where was it? It’s the little details that can catch you up as they got lost in the bigger picture. Organization is the simplest way to fix this problem and there’s many ways to go about it.
I’m a fan of the separate document. As I form my characters and details are added to the story (some before I even start writing, some during) I make notes in a separate document. I’ve got headings and subheadings and bullet point after bullet point. As far as it goes, I’m not the most organized of writers and I fall into a winging-it category. That’s something I’m working on because I’m just making it harder for myself. Having a separate document keeps me from having to scroll through thousands of words or from hitting the next button on the search bar for an hour. It also allows me to organize the information in a way unique to me and that fits my style.
You can comment on your document. Using the comment tool on Word you can make notes of where key details are. This isn’t the most efficient way to go about things if you’re going to make hundreds of notes because you’re right back to using the search bar again. However, if you’re only planning to make a couple notes then this might be a method that suits you. This can be a useful tool when it comes time to do some editing.
Google is home to a million and one character development sheets. Some of these are extraordinarily detailed. These sheets delve into every tiny detail you could possibly imagine. Print a couple of these out, save them to your computer, and fill in whatever information you want. These sheets provide a template for the character in general, as well, so if you want something to guide you in developing your character, they’re handy.
Everyone has their own method to how they organize themselves. These are just a few of the options available to anyone who’s looking for a way to remember where on the wall that clock was hanging or where that birth mark was located. Below are links to some helpful organizational templates. They’re for character development and world building, but using the model provided you can easily categorize details that don’t fall into these two categories.