Posted Mon, 10/23/06
Keeping Fiction Focused with a Great Plot Idea was an informative article in a recent edition of the Fiction Addiction newsletter.
One of the points in the article caught my attention: "many new fiction authors make key mistakes by not reviewing the flow of the plot, characters and settings for events. Books can really disappoint the reader by flip-flopping to move a murder setting from day to evening and when characters leap out from the pages with entirely different physical descriptions."
In recent years I have become very stringent about keeping character and setting details in comprehensive order. I developed a table in Microsoft Word that I use for every book, listing characters along with their ages, physical descriptions, associations with other characters and personality quirks.
I also use Fam-Tree Software to build a family tree of sorts for the characters in my stories. The program is very easy to use, and it keeps the fictional facts in order. It also gives the characters – and sometimes the story – a realistic bent that somehow makes the entire project seem actually existent.