I’ve reached the point in the Green Sky series – with three books complete, two in progress and two planned – that I am having to organise myself. At the moment, I’ve got two things on the list: a timeline and a character sheet.
My tendency to take characters from previous books and re-use them has now unfortunately spiralled to the point where I need to know what they’re all doing! So I’ve created a spreadsheet (which does go down a lot further than the image below shows)…
It’s based on a linear timeline and done by character as they seem to be what I need, as opposed to, for example, doing it by book. I think doing the timelines by book would be even more difficult considering that Salt Winds cuts through an awful lot of the others – Obak misses the war from Books 2&3 completely – and also that a lot of the characters do overlap. A linear timeline also means I can check what time of year things are happening, and what else is happening in the world: I might add a general political events column at some point if I do end up needing it, and possibly also a Fliyer/spark development one for use after Heights & Horizons, but I will see how much I can keep in my head first.
The timeline has helped already with which characters I can bring into Heights & Horizons, and who I want for Desert Sands – Oro and Jerlyn are pilots who come into Books 2&3, so I can use them; however, I’ve also got notes on which characters aren’t available (for example, Yeo and Anoe aren’t at the time of Heights & Horizons). It’s also caused a major change – Empty Skies has shifted from being the fourth book in the series to the sixth! It was originally placed straight after the end of High Flight (so the end of the orange section), but the end of Salt Winds was beginning to encroach quite badly on the end of Empty Skies, and so it makes it easier on all the characters to shift it until after Desert Sands.
This is something else that I admit I am possibly A Bad Writer for not doing sooner! In Green Sky, all my characters were in my head, and they’re all relatively simple. However, with the introduction of extra characters in Grey Stone & High Flight, plus the need to know what rank and element all the Mages are, meant that I lost track of people. Ctrl+F gets boring when you have three books to go through to find what damn rank that Yeo is (3rd Fire), and so I wrote myself a paper list.
However…I think this now needs to be expanded! With the additional characters in Heights & Horizons and the amount that are going to be re-introduced in Desert Sands (Jan, Lusa, Anoe, Alenna), I need a wider sheet with names, ranks and information. So that’s my task for the evening.
I’m not usually a very organised writer: most of the stuff is in my head. But recently, I’ve been plotting Desert Sands and Heights & Horizons, and I’ve just created Organised Stuff – I think I’m being forced to change my habits as I get more serious…