As some of you will know I am currently working on book 4 of my Ask Amy Green series for young teens. My series was called Amy Green: Teen Agony Queen, which although it sounded pretty zippy, apparently means some parents, teachers and librarians weren’t buying it for age 10/11+ which it is aimed at. The clue was in the word ‘teen’! So Walker, who are very sensible when it comes to pretty much everything, tweaked the series name slightly.
I digress – yes, again! I know, I know, I’m always digressing!
Back to my point. In order to keep track of the ages, physical characteristics, birthdays, clothes, hair, eyes, dancing ability, musical tastes, name of ex-girlfriends/bands/schools and a myriad of other details I need to remember which is only growing and growing with every book, I have a big spiral notebook in which I jot down these things. I refer to if I get a bit confused/lost/freaked out.
And it’s proved invaluable. Each character has their own page, or in the main characters’ cases, pages. Even very minor characters are covered. And I have sticky notes attached to the top of pages with some of the characters’ names on them. It’s all messy, messy but it works.
For example on Mills’s page I have:
Mills Starr, age 13 Dog – Simba (Jeepers, quite honestly I’d forgotten I’d given the Starrs a dog – darn it!) Claire – Mills’s big sis – in Perm at a ballet school Mills – great cook Long dark brown hair she wears in a ponytail mostly Classic dresser – quite safe Good with engines – can jump start cars (with leads I mean, not stealing them – she’d never, ever do something like that.), check oil and water etc Dad – Allan – age 56 – mad into model boats and airfix – bit of a geek (Rex hasn’t actually appeared in any books but he has been referenced), Titanic nut Mum - Sue Starr – 51 - Cath Kidson addict and loves baking Mills’s birthday – Valentine’s Day Says ‘Holy Moly’ a lot Her real name is Amelia Salutes at magpies and is scared of crossed sticks Into star signs Lives in 21 Sycamore Park Hiccups in her sleep Fave food – choc brownies Fave colour – pink Collects stones from the beaches she’s visited In 2O, Mr Olen's class This list goes on and on and on and on . . .
I won’t bore you with any more – but you get the idea. You should see the pages for Amy and Clover if you think Mills’s is looking long!
As well as being useful, it’s also fun. I only wish I could draw so I could sketch my characters too. I do envy the author/illustrators.
Anyway yesterday I found out that what I’ve been doing – my notebook of characters – is called a ‘series bible’. Great name, eh!
So folks, how’s your own series bible coming along? Start one now before you need one - it will make your writing life a whole lot easier, believe me.
Yours in writing,