Wednesday, June 3, 2020

(Re)Calling Cait Morgan... by Cathy Ace

Q: Do you keep a “bible” for your series characters and stories? If so, what does it look like? What does it contain? Do you use a specific program or just Word or Excel files? What do you put in it, how detailed are you?

I do keep a bible, and I am so very glad of that. Otherwise I’d have found myself in a bit of a pickle earlier this year. Why? For the first time since 2016 I wrote a new Cait Morgan Mystery, and it’s amazing what you can forget in a few years, even about characters who are so real to you they might as well be good IRL friends.

Of course, as I sat down to write, I could “see" and "knew" Cait and Bud (Cait's husband) and even three of the other characters who feature in THE CORPSE WITH THE CRYSTAL SKULL (coming June 29th, folks!) because I had spent time with time before. But – and it’s a BIG but – there were some little knobbly bits of character detail that had slipped my mind, so I made a bee-line for my “old character notes” (in other words, the version I’d used in 2016 for The Corpse with the Ruby Lips).

I have details of the following for all my characters in each book (major and minor): physical characteristics; likes/dislikes/abilities/inabilities; food/drink likes and dislikes; professional and educational history including names of schools etc.; family/parents' names and backgrounds etc.; pets/habits; psychological profile notes; language quirks. 

The format for said “bible”? A rather hap-hazard word document that had grown with each of the previous eight books in the series, through which I had to trawl to be able to glean the details I needed. In this ninth book I have reintroduced characters who have had brief cameos in previous books, namely (and this is for those of you who have read said previous books) John and Sheila White, and Jack Silver. Each of those characters has received some slight mention of physical characteristics, and I have sought to either suggest - or have outright stated - at least a vignette of their "previous life" as well as their psychological profile on previous occasions, plus their relationships with Cait and Bud have been lightly sketched in. This book was my chance to develop the people and their backstories, but I had to get the basics right in the first place (whilst allowing for the passing of “book-time” for them).

Ironically, writing this blog post has reminded me that I now have to go back to my “bible” and update it – something I haven’t done yet…largely because I’ve been a bit distracted, and the focus I have managed to muster has gone on the writing, editing and promotion for the launch. But I’ll do it now. Promise 😊


If you'd like to meet ALL my characters - especially since I have this new Cait Morgan book coming out this it's a really good time to catch up on any Cait books you've missed! - then CLICK HERE - NOW!! 


Paul D. Marks said...

I wish I could be as organized as you, Cathy. Every time I do something new in a series I have to troll through previous entries to try to find things about various characters. I keep telling myself I'll do a bible. One of these days...

And good luck with the new book!

Cathy Ace said...

Oh Paul...I am far from a model in this respect!! :-)