Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Details

The details are important!
A couple of years ago, I took an online writing/editing class. We learned about proper grammar, passive sentences, spellcheck, and all of the important and expected topics. All of the things that I just mentioned, you will understand (especially if you write fiction) are often not set in stone. They are dependent on personal style in many instances.
The idea that I developed the most appreciation for was the detail table, as I have come to refer to it.
During the course of writing, particularly with fiction, and especially if we are dealing with a long piece, many details change. What do I mean?
The spelling of a name or the name itself.
The gender of a charcter, or other personality or physical trait.
Motivation and movement.
You name it.
We were instruted to created an alphabetized table in Excel or similar program, or simply draw one by hand. Say you have a character named Zoitsa. This is a pretty unique name. You would list this name under the "Z" column. Anytime you needed to refer to this character you could refer back to your list for the correct spelling. Have a character who live on a planet called Jkutlooinow? That would be a doozy to remember how to spell. List it under the column for "J".
This detail table is also helpful if you are dealing with a lot of made up names and places.
Do any of you have a good idea for managing your story details? Leave a comment and let us know.


  1. I use the "hand-scribbled notes piled helter-skelter" method. Which, now that I think about it; isn't very professional.

  2. Not so! Whatever works, works. If piles of helter-skelter notes keeps you going, I think thats just as good as any. I'm afraid that I have abandoned the details table. And...not to my benefit either. I have a hard time keeping H&T straight in my head. I am always going back to older chapters to check my facts. I fear that I am still not completely in line. I'll do a major re-edit when I am finished with the story though.
    Thanks for reading!