Monday, 21 May 2007

Keeping it Straight

I find that one of the biggest problems with writing 'longer' stories, is keeping everything straight in your head so that you don't contradict yourself at some point. Of course, it depends on the complexity of the story as to what you need to do to keep things straight. For example, with "Charlotte Secret" the plot, the characters and their histories were such that I had to write a timeline going back nearly two years before the story began – this so that I could get the timings right in respect of the various coupling, weddings and pregnancies that led to the situation that David and Charlotte find themselves in as we first meet them.

On the other hand, whilst "Lost and Found" was a longer story, it was far less complicated. In fact, I spent most of the time I spent on that story that wasn't actually writing it, was spent researching things like flights and working on the authenticity (it's quite hard of an ignorant Brit like me to paint a convincing picture if small town USA).

With "The Method" it's different again. Yes, I have a timeline drawn up, but that's more of an aid memoir then an essential – it helps me get things like the Oscar ceremony taking place at the right time of year. However, my biggest difficulty has been keeping track of the fictional Celebrity world I've had to create as a background to the story. Chloe is meant to be a global movie star. So she'll have a filmography, right? And the other, non-celeb characters will mention her films from time to time, right? And Chloe will have friends who are Celebs, right? And she'll mention them or talk to them or actually meet them from time to time, right?

So I've got two files open, one listing all the films she's been in that have been mentioned in the text, and another to do the same for other celebs, and both of them have the necessary notes so that I know what the other characters think of the films/people.

Now, I was going to post an example, but to do that I'll have to cut out the notes, which would be far less interesting? Why? Posting the notes will give away the ending of course. Anyway, here are some of the films mentioned in the text so far. The last film appears with kind permission of one H.L.Berry.

E

Films Made

Film Type

Part played

15

Until Midnight

Horror

Sally

16

Don't Say Goodbye

Romantic

Jilly

16

High School Hell

Drama

Jasmine

17

To Eternity and Back

Romantic

Ruth

17

Charlotte's Secret

Drama

Jakki

18

Reunion

Drama

Young Kelly

19

Tutoring Sophie

Drama

Sophie

19

Nightgirl – The Movie

Action

Abbi/Nightgirl

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