Saturday, February 17, 2018

Character Boards and Family Trees

Hey Guys, It's Carly!  Today I am entertaining another question that I get asked a lot. "How do you keep your characters straight? How do you remember their details? How do you come up with enough material for a book? Okay, that's three questions, but they have the same answer. 

I have a couple of different things I use in order to keep the details handy. Most of you probably utilize this tool already, but maybe not for your book details. The answer is Pinterest.  I have boards created for each stand alone book/series that I am working on. I collect pictures of actors/actresses that I see in my head as a character. If that character has a certain item that means something to them, I will post a picture of that. For example: In the book, Sasha Bishop: Shifter, Sasha has a prom dress fashioned from around the 1870's. The picture I had in mind is on the Sasha Bishop board. Not only does this help me remember the characters names, but also those details unique to them.

Another thing I do is "family trees."  I start with the main character and work my way back by five generations. I make up names for all those people and a brief history. The reader may not ever know this information, but it gives me an idea of where the character comes from and why they react the way they do. If it is a secondary character, I only go back two generations. Not only does this help me keep the family lineage straight, it also gives me birthdays, careers, and spouse/children names. A lot of people have commented that is a lot of work for something that may or may not make it in the book. I tend to agree, however, several times, especially when writing a series, this has helped me keep small details straight. It has also aided me with story lines. How many times do you get stuck in the middle of your story and don't know where to go with it? Maybe your character is at a cross-roads and doesn't know how to move forward. When this happens, I take a break from the story and read through the family trees. Many times a new plot twist has developed from something I read from an ancestors background. If that doesn't help, I will go on Pinterest and look through the character boards for that series. This has helped many times in nudging me with a minor detail that blows up into a story line.

Sometimes these character boards and family trees can lead to a whole new book or series. Again, using the Sasha series as an example, I came up with all sorts of interesting characters from the family tree idea. I now have a new three book series planned based on some of those characters titled Prelude to a Vampire. Thanks to these tools, I have a whole lot of new ideas cooking for the new series and characters.

That's all for tonight.  Join me back here on February 25th when I interview author, Tricia Sanders!

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