We’ve had it happen. We start off writing and putting our characters down, naming them, describing them, and six chapters later…BAM! We can’t remember if Tad has blond hair and blue eyes or if Jane has brown hair and green eyes and was his last name Granite or Onyx. What was the name of that imaginary town we created? Or we forget what name we gave that great secondary character, Jane’s best friend.
So we sigh, curse, roll our eyes and then hunt back through the manuscript to find the info. We thought it was in the first chapter, but turns out, after five minutes of scrolling, it was in chapter two. Arrgghh.
It breaks us out of the flow of writing and reminds us our brains are pretty much shot to hell, either from kids, husbands, wives, day jobs, or (my excuse) from the drinking we do to get us through the whole “gonna write the crap outta this story” vibe.
So, somewhere around my fifth book, (out of 40), I figured out a simple method to remember all that info. No, not a story bible. Not another document you have to keep open and refer to all the time. And no, not on a sticky note on the wall next to my computer.
The solution was right there all the time and I just didn’t think of using it the way it wasn’t intended on being used.
What’s the next best thing since spell check to make a writer’s life easier?
The Header and Footer of your Word document.
No, you say. What, you say.
Yes, I say! It’s that freakin’ easy.
Here’s how – open your doc, go to INSERT, add HEADER. Several styles will pop up. Pick the empty one – you have 3 lines available for your use – anything can go there. ANYTHING. Like your main characters’ names, hair and eye colors, limps, tats, etc.
And if you what to keep track of those pesky but necessary secondary characters? Or the clever name of the town? Just open the FOOTER and put it there.
All the info you need will be there, on every page! No searching, no wasting time, no aggravation. And you can keep on drinking, toasting your clever self.
Once the manuscript is done, just open it for editing, clear it out, and close it.
Lynn Lorenz is the author of 16 male-male romances with Loose Id, including the acclaimed Rougaroux Social Club and WereWolf Fight League series. Check them out!