Writing a Series

Keeping track of details in one novel can be an overwhelming task. My handy-dandy spreadsheet does the job for me.

But what happens when one novel becomes two and then two become three? And then you make a change in one . . . and it has to be updated in two and then three.

This is enough to drive a person crazy or at least keep them entertained or maybe keep them from sleeping. Who knows?

My solution. As always my spreadsheet. I have now added a new spreadsheet to my collection. I keep one spreadsheet per novel and have found an extra one for details that need to be remembered from one book to the next helps.

I can remember the big details, but what about the ones like an address, a description of a room, a character’s sibling.

Without a spreadsheet I am lost.

Any tips that might help me?

Thanks for reading . . .


16 thoughts on “Writing a Series

  1. Thanks for sharing, and inspiring again! I am encountering same issue but have not organized for it yet. Certainly, multiple books is good reason (sic) to do little revising! I gathered sailing journal notes and moved some entries into new sequence for developing a book about learning to sail from adult woman’s perspective. Now I find I need to track people for whether they were previously introduced, whether locations were previously explained, etc. I suspect that a spreadsheet, or whatever, will make it easier in the long run. But it is task I am not looking forward to. Best. e


    1. I’ll share my spreadsheet info later in the week when I get better internet. For now, text has to do. I found once I created the spreadsheet and updated it, I didn’t mind the task. Sometimes I even get inspired and ideas pop into my head about what to write.


      1. SmartDraw gets good reviews. It’s available only on PC and I don’t know if there’s a free version. But I think paper and flowchart ruler work just as well.


  2. You might find a database more useful than a spreadsheet because it has stronger search capabilities.

    30 warm regards……dmn:marilyn monroe Don M. Nixon II

    Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2013 10:05:29 +0000 To: dmnixonii@hotmail.com


  3. What kind of info are you tracking in your spreadsheet? I have a tendency to either go overboard and put too much info, and spend more time on the spreadsheet than writing, or I skip it altogether and have an unorganized mess.


    1. Dreampunk Geek, I’m traveling right now and won’t have a strong internet connection till the end of the week. I’ll reply with information about the spreadsheets, what I have in them and how I use them. The key, I think, is to find what works for you. I keep adding and removing columns as I learn, but I don’t write without the aid of a spreadsheet.


  4. The problem with my multiple book story is that the second story changes something that happened in the first! Fortunately, they are both in draft form, so your spreadsheet is a great idea for me to start bringing them into proper alignment. Luckily, I haven’t written the third book yet. Maybe I can get things straight the first time through on that one. 🙂
    Right now I use Scrivener and have created templates for things like settings and characters that I can refer to as I write. It’s kind of a new thing for me though, so I’ll let you know how it works out!


    1. Hi Kirsten, I use Scrivener too. I like it, but I still need my spreadsheet. I’ve changed things in book two and three and then had to go back to book one and update it. I guess it’s all part of this loooong process. I love using Scrivener to move scenes around or to check something in a previous scene. I find it much easier to use than word.


  5. I’ve heard Scrivener is a good tool and plan to use it. I’m working on the fourth novel in my series, and wish I had kept better notes on my characters. I will have to go back and change a few things because I didn’t write down enough details. And I will try your spreadsheet idea, as well.


    1. One thing I really like about Scrivner is the ability to move scenes around quickly. That helps me when I’m at first draft stage and am working on flow. Good luck to you. I’ll put up a link with an evaluation of Scrivener that I wrote when I first started using it.


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