I spend a lot of time with a special group of dear friends and a few frenemies who have local addresses but they aren’t in any phone book because I invented them. Two of the towns, exist only in my books. Yesterday, I tried to remember the name of a nosy neighbor in Mount Merryhill and the name of a cantankerous potter living in Fast Creek. It took me an hour to find the names. I sarcastically told the dog at my feet that I wished I could just look them up in an address book.
Then it hit me, it was one of those D’oh! moments. I had to admit that it would be very useful if I had an actual address book and filled with the characters in this series. It would also be kind of fun, not to mention efficient, to pick up my little black book and see where the new Sheriff is living and where his siblings live, not to mention keeping track of his mother!
Each of my books include a person who is new to the area and in rural North Carolina this could mean as recently as ten years. I’ve rarely lived anywhere for longer than a few years, old address books are still in a box of stuff that moves but never seems to get unpacked. I’ve often found them useful for recalling a doctor’s name or an old colleague. Even Clients from when I freelanced, it’s amazing how often you need to backtrack your own life. But, it’s a whole new kettle of fish when the people you are trying to find are fictional figments of your imagination.
I am in awe of the authors of some of the series I read and love. It can become tricky keeping track of such a huge cast of characters. These authors occasionally answer questions about how they keep track of them. Lots of advise and I’ve tried following a few but nothing worked completely
I know some writers use sticky notes and I still have a few -they are still stuck to a large piece of paper rolled up and tucked away somewhere. My Scrivner files for each book have character lists linked to complex Scapple files of who is who and what, when and where. But they haven’t worked for me. When I need to remember the name of the town manager of Mount Aire or the Mayor of Mount Merryhill I can find that easily but their wives or kid’s names, not so much? It can be very distracting and I’d hate for a mistake to slip pass the Editor, who works for wine and cheese (my husband).
So, I ordered a large address book, the old school kind, the type everyone used to have before the digital ones took over our lives. I wondered if it might also help me keep track of name changes. Because, you never know when Sheriff Bill can become Sheriff Steve without warning. I’m rather excited to receive my address book, it should come very handy.
But, then as I write this, I wonder if a Rolodex might be better. Then, I chide myself, what is best, is to get back to my writing!