As we are writing the follow-up to STRANGLED BY SILK in the Poppy Cove Mystery Series, we are finding out that telling the tales in a long term project is an interesting challenge, especially when it come to characters. We need to create an enduring ensemble cast and when it’s in the mystery genre, inevitably some will get bumped off along the way and secondary characters will come and go.
The people have to evolve, grow and change, yet remain consistent in their nature. Be loveable or at least, a person you love to hate, with enough faults and quirks to make them easy to relate to and seem human. Being the novices that we are, we are learning about our people, and as we go along, sometimes they surprise us and add a new dimension or twist to the story. In turn, we learn more about ourselves and the reality that we inhabit as we share the thoughts and insights of our fictional friends.
Being authors tackling an episodic project, we’re seeing how we need to keep track of our Santa Lucians’ attributes and milestones, in binders and on computer files, within easy reach to call upon as needed when the plot thickens. Ages, birthdates, relationships, eye color, senses of humor and dislikes invented and recorded, with the eventual goal in mind to keep sharing with you, our dear readers!
I’ve heard of author’s notebooks full of notes, character attributes, colored squiggles (very important), arrows and stars–and I’m pretty sure this is the purpose they were made for. Keeping your characters’ behavior (never mind eye color) consistent through a series of books must be a great challenge and, as a reader, I know I hate to be moving smoothly along in a new story with beloved characters only to be stopped short by: “But she hates peanuts!” Thanks for the effort!
So True! Thanks, too!