Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How do you keep track? by Leann Harris

If you would walk up to me and ask me what color eyes did the hero in my last book have, I couldn't tell you.
What college did Zach McClure (my hero) attend?
How old is Sophie (the heroine)?
Sophie’s horse’s name is what?
These are all questions I needed to remember in my last book, Second Chance Ranch. You’d be surprised how often you forget what color your hero’s eyes are. You'd think I could remember, but you'd be so wrong. I can't tell you the endless hours I spent looking up little details of the hero/heroine's life, so I finally came up with an idea on how to keep my facts straight.

Is it some high tech way or do I create a file with all the info in it?

No. My high tech way of keeping track of facts and info is to write in an old spiral notebook I keep on my desk. I've put tabs on different pages with the name of the book, then on those pages I write all the pertinent information about that story. If a character appears or a new horse, I write it down in the notebook. You can't believe how much easier that makes my life. If I have to know what color eyes Zach has, I look in my book and there it is. By the way, his eyes are blue.

It might sound ridiculous, but every writer I know has developed their own system. And readers notice when your hero's eyes go from blue, to brown, to green, then back to blue.

Our gift certificate was won by Jenny. Thanks to all you wonderful readers who participated in the contest.


  1. Leann, I still don't keep track. I keep meaning to but I don't. And congrats, Jenny, for knowing so much about us! :-)

  2. Wow, this post was very timely for me, Leann! I've been feeling a little frustrated lately with my WIP because I have to keep "flipping back" through my pages of notes to see certain details (like eye color,LOL). So I definitely need a system (Your system sounds great, by the way). Thanks for sharing, Patti Jo :)

  3. Leann, I staring at my own spiral notebook here. I jot things down everywhere then search for them later, but at least I know what I need is in that handy notebook. I have a spiral notebook on just about every book I've ever written, with other things journaled inbetween book notes. I tried tracking things on a computer page, but it didn't feel right. I'll stick to my notebooks.

  4. Lenora, using one notebook is helpful because I know where all the info is. I'm writing a follow up book to my last book and need to know the heroine's parents' names, I turn back to Second Chance Ranch page.

  5. I used Microsoft One Note until I got my Mac. Now I used the notebook view in Word. I make tabs and keep a notebook on each book. And when I'm writing another book set in the same town, I copy all the info to the next notebook. I also keep a 3 ring binder for each book. :)


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