Wow. Details are the bane of my existence when I’m writing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing, and don’t ever want to give it up, but details, and remembering those pesky details, is the hardest for me, especially if it is a non-essential character. I still strive to keep the details correct.
In an effort to keep the details as seamless as possible, I use Word’s Comments feature, as well as a dedicated Word document filled with characters, name and possible aliases, descriptions, age, identifying features, where they work, and any other biographical information that comes up during the writing process.
I might only have one “novel” published but I have been writing for seven years now and have two series under my belt. The first series was my “let’s learn how to do this” and the second, which is an offshoot of the first series, is the one that benefited from five years (that’s when I started the second series) of writing knowledge.
Back to details. In the first series I have a lot of characters, and those characters are brought in to the second series, so keeping the details is imperative if I want continuity. I was lucky in the fact that I grew impatient and started a Word document with biographical info about my characters six years ago. Some of that knowledge is never used, or maybe mentioned once, but it’s there in the event I do need it.
Oh, yeah, keep everything. Keep the “cut” pieces in another document, mostly because you may bring in a character that you’ve “cut” and have to reference certain things, such as eye color or hair color, or maybe where they work, etc. I keep all of my “cuts” because I never know when I’ll need that information, which just happens to be almost never, but who knows, one day I may need that minute detail, and…I already have it, saved in a document that I rarely look at. That’s something I’ve done before. Sometimes I’ve merged two or three characters into one, and the details are mixed and matched and made whole by the “cut” pieces I kept.
So, that’s about all I have on details, memory, and all that fun stuff that no one ever thinks about.