• 05 May 2010
    Many writers who work on a series have a “bible” which lists all of the characters, what they look like, their traits, what they have done in each book, along with lots more info about the world of the series, such as place names, major and minor events, etc. I don’t — I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants!!!

    As I worked my way through the four books The City (see my Book Notes for more info about what happened the fourth, unpublished book) things began to get a bit complicated. The first two books were set at the same time. The story then moved back into the past by about twenty years for what was originally planned to be the third book (the one that hasn’t been published), before shooting forward ten years from the end of the first two books for the fourth. I needed to be able to clearly check which characters appeared in which book, and which overlapped. So I jotted down details on a couple of sheets of paper, which I am including here for you to have a look at.

    The first sheet simply lists almost all of the characters of City of the Snakes. No descriptions (except in a few instances) or any other info, just a straightforward list of who would be in the book. Please note, some of those names changed over the editing process, and a few were dropped entirely. But for the most part all of the players are present and correct, and there are even some notes about eh layout of the the city and the structure of the Snakes. (You’ll learn much more about the Snakes when you read the book.)

    The second sheet lists the main and overlapping characters of the four books, starting with the first book on the left, running second to third to fourth across to the right, with arrows marking the passage of characters who appear in more than one of the books. I have blanked out the title of what was originally going to be the third book. Please note, the list is not definitive — for instance, Cafran appears in City of the Snakes, even though this is not indicated on the list.

    This will hopefully give you a good idea of how I plot things out and keep them in order inside my head. This isn’t an ideal process — a “bible” makes much better sense — but hey, it works for me!!!
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