I’d just finished writing a sequel to Ruse & Romance (Rake & Romance) when I began to get requests for a sequel to The Mannequin. I had plenty of story material to go on, and so broke ground. As I was writing, I was turning over in my mind a subject for my blog. I decided a post about writing sequels and series might be interesting, and how I keep track of all the characters. In a television series, the creators keep what’s called a show bible. This bible contains information about the characters that’s already been established. That way, if the staff writers want to bring in a brother for “Rachel,” and she’s already mentioned in Episode Two she’s an only child, the writers would have to bring in the character as someone else…a cousin perhaps.
For me, I keep a character list, with names, physical descriptions, and any other established information about the players in a manuscript. Keeping a character list is a good idea, even in a standalone manuscript, because writers often change things like names and hair or eye color as they write. If a hero has blond hair and blue eyes in Chapter One, by Chapter Fifteen, his eyes shouldn’t magically change to hazel just because the author either forgot what he or she wrote, or neglected to revise what had come before.
So, around 10,000 words into “Mannequin Two,” I began to compose a post about sequels. I pulled up my character list for The Mannequin, opened the manuscript to make sure the list was up-to-date, and low and behold, I discovered a critical problem. An offhanded mention in book one that a certain character only had younger brothers threw a wrench in the motor of my sequel. I’d neglected to put that information into my character list, and so began to write the sequel with three sisters and one brother.
What to do? A rapid sex change for the siblings was in order, but I needed the female character to remain. So, she became a cousin. Problem solved, but what if I hadn’t caught the casual reference? My mistake cost me a great deal of time, since I had to greatly revise what I’d written, and annoyed me to boot.
So, now I keep my character list document open as I write, revise it as I go, and make notations of any information (even offhanded) about the players. With a sequel, I begin with my character list for book one, rename it for book two, and continue to add new information. Live and learn, I suppose.
Rake & Romance will be released on Friday, January 29th! To pre-order your copy at the pre-release price, go HERE.
Blurb: Juliet’s plans to wed Lord Elbourne come to naught when she discovers he’s obliged to wed an heiress instead. To salvage her dignity, she enters into a ruse with the heiress’s brother, whom she views as a rake. Unfortunately, he’s also the most attractive man she’s ever met.
Cody Gryphon will do anything to see his sister Stephanie wed to Lord Elbourne, including entering into a temporary engagement with her romantic rival. Although he intends to return to Texas as soon as his sister is wed, he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Juliet’s charms.
Can a rake and a debutante find their happily ever after?