• Fur Affinity Forums are governed by Fur Affinity's Rules and Policies. Links and additional information can be accessed in the Site Information Forum.

Tracking Character References in a Novella or Novel

Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
How do you keep track of your characters, just to maintain continuity? I used to refer back to previous chapters but I've learned my lesson concerning that method. I' now using a small booklet that I devised to keep track. Considering "Rift will be more complex than "Scribe" was, I think I need that edge the reference book will give me.

How do you keep track of characters?
 

reptile logic

An imposter among aliens.
Assuming the story grows beyond a few pages; what I eventually do is copy character bits from my raw draft and paste them onto a document marked "character name". Depending on the story, I'll sometimes add some form of time stamp to those entries. If the story is relatively short, especially if the character has a small role to play, then that's usually as far as I go.

For my novels and such, eventually I built a spreadsheet. This solution works for me both because I find spreadsheets easy to do, and because I'm too cheap to buy something like Scrivener. The spreadsheet has without a doubt evolved over time as I learned what I did and didn't need to track.

Below is a sample of the timeline spreadsheet that I put together for the series including "The Accidental Ambassador". I had to do this just to keep track of the action through the timekeeping standards of at least four different planets. Not all of it may make sense to you. All of it means something to me. (Note the 7 in the center. This spreadsheet is far from perfect but still very usable to me)

Timeline Example.png
 

Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
Assuming the story grows beyond a few pages; what I eventually do is copy character bits from my raw draft and paste them onto a document marked "character name". Depending on the story, I'll sometimes add some form of time stamp to those entries. If the story is relatively short, especially if the character has a small role to play, then that's usually as far as I go.

For my novels and such, eventually I built a spreadsheet. This solution works for me both because I find spreadsheets easy to do, and because I'm too cheap to buy something like Scrivener. The spreadsheet has without a doubt evolved over time as I learned what I did and didn't need to track.

Below is a sample of the timeline spreadsheet that I put together for the series including "The Accidental Ambassador". I had to do this just to keep track of the action through the timekeeping standards of at least four different planets. Not all of it may make sense to you. All of it means something to me. (Note the 7 in the center. This spreadsheet is far from perfect but still very usable to me)

View attachment 103008
Um, interesting? Anyway, I just made a booklet (I'm retired and it's Covid-19, eh?) printed it out on 11X17" paper, folded, stapled and trimmed it. I have spots for name, their position in life, rank, if needed, physical description, first appearance and a notes section to add trivia to that helps maintains continuity.

Before that, I had sticky notes strew about my desk and stuck on the edges of my screen. Kind of distracting. When a new character comes forth, I add them to the booklet. Works well for me. Storyboarding is done by Gantt Chart. I'm an ex-General Contactor so a Gantt works for me.
 

The-Courier

Shipmaster
How do you keep track of your characters, just to maintain continuity? I used to refer back to previous chapters but I've learned my lesson concerning that method. I' now using a small booklet that I devised to keep track. Considering "Rift will be more complex than "Scribe" was, I think I need that edge the reference book will give me.

How do you keep track of characters?

I use spreadsheets. Alternatively, highly organized .txt files.
 

Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
I use spreadsheets. Alternatively, highly organized .txt files.
I've owned a General Contracting Company with my family and I've done Fire Alarm Inspections for forty-two sites when I worked for a school district. To be honest, I'm sick to my eyeballs with spreadsheets. I still shudder thinking about the day my brother-in-law, "Mister Computer Illiterate" took a one hundred line, four year capable Gantt chart I had constructed in Excel and wiped out all the formulas. Then the eejit goes an saves it, then reopens it, starts dinking with it, then saves it again. To add insult to injury, he goes on the NAS and gets the template, wipes out the formulas, saves it, then dinks with it too. By the time I get back in the office, he's all pushed ot of shape and wants the chart fixed like yesterday. I turned around and walked out, took a week off.
 

Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
google docs ftw
No, Google Docs is Effed. They allowed someone to change around the formatting on some spreadsheets, lost about a year of work. It may have been the fact about five people were working with the same sheets, two of them were allowed access (by my boss) that weren't even on that project. Anyone could have been the culprit but it seems more likely Google Docs did the deed.
 
Top