Writing a series can be a challenge. When you're writing the second or third book, it can be difficult to keep track of all the details you’ve already written in the first book. As G. Thomas Gill commented on one of my recent posts, Stand Alone vs. Series Novels, “to remember each and every little detail about your character, like what he drinks, the color car she drives, or his detest of Thai food.” That’s true of your main character, all the other characters in your novel, the setting, dates, everything. So how do writers do it?
I can only speak for myself. Let me first say that I am a list maker. I’m a firm believer in writing everything down that I need to remember as opposed to storing it loosely in my head. I detest the “What is it I’m forgetting?” feeling and I try to avoid it at all costs. So, I make lists for everything! Groceries and miscellaneous items that I need to buy, appointments, errands, phone calls I want to return; you name it, I write it down.
As I began to write my second novel, I found myself having to constantly go back into my first novel to check on various details. It was beginning to get on my last nerve and I realized what the problem was; I needed a plan, a list. So, I developed Characters and Chronology, an outline of “facts” that I needed to remember. I started with my main character, Ann, and listed her physical description, her age and important events in her life which I had mentioned in Mixed Messages. I then went on do the same with each character. Eventually, I expanded the outline to include the “new” characters in my second novel, Unfinished Business. When I begin to write the third novel in my series, I’ll add that information to my list too.