Organize Characters, Places, and Defnitions in Your Novel

When writing a novel, especially an other-world fantasy, which is what I am currently working on, things can get confusing. If you don’t organize some of the information, you can easily find yourself naming two minor characters the same name or changing the color of a character’s hair mid-way or forgetting the name of that other-world herb you mentioned a few chapters back.

There are lots of ways to organize information about characters and places. I also included definitions, for people writing fantasy or sci-fi, because writers in those genres make up a lot of things that they have to name and describe. This is just the way that works best for me. 

I use Evernote for organization. It’s a pretty simple program to use. I have a Notebook Stack, labeled with the title of my novel. I have Stacks for each novel, which is especially helpful when writing a series. All of your characters, places, and definitions are in the same place for multiple novels in the same series. Under the Notebook Stack I have Notebooks labeled the items I wish to organize. Examples could include: Characters, Places, Definitions, Family Trees, Background Information, World Building, etc. Whatever it is you want to organize can be included. For the current novel I am working on, I have three Notebooks so far: Characters, Places, and Definitions. In each Notebook, there are Notes. So then, each character has their own Note. Information, including images, can be included in Notes. 

Evernote is available online so you can have it anytime, anywhere, and you can also download the program to have on your computer. How do you organize your information?

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4 thoughts on “Organize Characters, Places, and Defnitions in Your Novel

  1. I use a decidedly low tech approach. I’m also writing a fantasy series and I find that having a notebook for each book is a great way to organize my thoughts. But you have a point about keeping things in order across the series. I’ll have to take a look at Evernote. I tried using Scrivener, but it didn’t feel as effortless an everyone made it sound. Despite growing up with a computer, I still like long hand–I find I’m able to hold off self-editing until after I’m done.

    • For some reason, long hand drives me nuts! But like I said, every writer has to find what works best for them. And yes, Scrivener is a little more complicated than I thought it would be. I bought it for half off when I “won” camp NaNo last July, and I have yet to use it. I might still try it one day, though. I’ve never heard anyone call Scrivener “effortless.” Lol. Maybe they are just smarter than me 🙂

  2. Thanks for the suggestions. I was wondering how things were going with your novel and if you were finding time to work on it with all the other things going on in your life. Best of luck.

    • Thanks! I am always working on something! I have to complete the first drafts of the series I’m working for before I go back and polish the first one. I’m hoping to be done by the end of the year with all four first drafts of each book in the series I’m working on.

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