Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Staying Organized While Hopping Dimensions

Recently, I've been working on the origin story for my favorite character, Thierry Adler. Thierry is a Warlock who has the ability to 'pulse' to different dimensions. Thierry also has a myriad of different characteristics (that I’ve found difficult to keep track of overtime).
Stories happen, and through the course of several short stories about Thierry, his personality has changed. He's grown, become more snarky, learned new things and experienced losses.
So, writing his origin story is/was particularly difficult for me. I'd been working with, and focusing on a man who’d learned a lot about the shadowy, magic filled world he lives in. What kind of monsters exist, what kind of spells he can use to combat his enemies, what monsters hate other monsters, etc. His world is full of dangers and mystery, (and that's just his home dimension). He was beginning to find out what was really going on. Discovering the true scheme of things, if you will-- and something horrible happened--

I started to forget important things. Things he should know! I got my story facts mixed up. I got confused.
At first, I freaked out.
What am I gonna do? How can I organize 300+ pages of information that I've written over the course of a year? How am I gonna write his super, super important (to me) origin story if I have my facts all mixed up? I'm going to confuse myself and my readers...
I had to remind myself to breathe.
#Warlock101, a hashtag on Twitter I created for the sole purpose of housing Thierry's helpful Warlock trivia, has helped me keep up with some of his snarky facts about what he's learned, but obviously that would not be enough to carry me through several novels pertaining to this one character, let alone all of the side characters and other subplots I was planning on integrating into my works.
That left me floundering; the fact that I couldn't keep up with my own imagination. This realization sent me on a mission to figure out how to get organized. And fast.
After binge writing most of Trigram in November, I let the story rest when I ran out of steam. Now, in hindsight, I see that the reason for my stagnation was a lack of organization. 🙄
I've read many author's articles about creating story bibles and character worksheets for quick reference. Some of these author's outlines are longer than their actual book.
I am a pantser, so that method probably wouldn't work for me. I tend to get bored when focusing on small details for too long.
If action is not happening, I lose interest quickly.
So, here's what I did.
To use this method, you will need four things:
  1. An Amazon Kindle, or an Amazon Kindle app whichever is easier for you to get.
  2. Scrivener, or any app that will allow you to compile a large amount of information into a Mobi document. Or an e-pub file.
  3. Your book. (The one you're taking notes on).
  4. Time and patience.
First, I made a Scrivener document and titled it “All Characters Master Copy”. Well, okay, that's a lie. I call mine The Grimoire.😜 (It sounds more witchy…)
What it looks like on my Paperwhite Reader...

Table Of Contents on Kindle Phone App

Anywhooooooo, next, I compiled it and sent it to my kindle, just like it was an e-book, or more specifically, a kindle e-book.
In doing this, your document becomes searchable, very easy to access, and allows for somewhat painless editing.
Bonus: it's available across devices. I have a Kindle Paperwhite, but I have the Kindle App on my phone as well.
For the purposes of this post, I'll be using screenies from my phone app too.
Two character pages from the app. Sorry, I had to block Nate's skills due to spoilers... And I had to add the skull, because... well... did you forget whose blog you were reading? Yeeeeaaaaahhhh. (Winks)
As you may have suspected, you can totally do all of this with an e-book/ e-pub converter too.
It's 'green', because it takes zero paper, and you are free to change or add anything you want, delete the old copy and republish to your kindle documents (or wherever you keep your books) once you've added enough stuff to make it worth re-doing...

*Takes a breath*
Now, here comes the hard part.
Collecting all that data. This is my reason for recommending Scrivener, even though they don't have a lot of love for folks who don't own Apple products... *huffs* I still recommend using it, but it's not a must. Google Docs will work in the same way.
My answer is NOTES, Notes, Notes... Kinda.
If I'm making good some headway in a story, I'm not going to stop and take notes; but I will highlight and leave myself a comment. (In the most tactful and lady-like manner possible...)

Just call me Bitchy Poppins.

Later, when I'm editing, I bring up the ol' Grimoire in the background; then I copy and paste story facts about characters, objects and places right into the story bible.

I realize if something big changes, things could get confusing quickly... But I don't have a fix for that yet. I'm not even sure there is a fix for that... A story is an ever-changing thing until it's done...

Food for thought, I suppose.
Anyway, I hope this post has helped you get a little more organized. It's not a perfect solution by far, but it'll work for now, I guess. I will take a 'copy and paste' approach when it comes to keeping up with my characters any day, rather than having nothing at all written down about them (like I was doing a few months ago).
How do you stay organized? Any tips you are willing to share would be greatly appreciated! Feel free to add comments and thoughts below!!
Welp, thanks for stopping by, and until next time:
Happy reading and keep it creepy.


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