I remember having read this somewhere but I'm not sure where so I can't give proper credit. But this week I've seen it in operation. As I worked on generating that list of characters from all of the WIP set in the FOS storyworld some of the blocks preventing me from from advancing individual stories began to dissolve. Not all. I'm far from there yet but I'm seeing hints.
More than hints. I have the name of the mysterious Founder of the bizarre cult that is the main antagonist for several of the novels and a major influence on nearly all of them. I know he was born during or shortly after WWII and split off from the religious group he was originally affiliated with in the mid 30s. I know a bit about his motives and temperament and a bit more about his doctrine and belief system. Not enough yet but its way more than I had a week ago.
The list of characters I harvested out of all of the story files grew to 115. After grouping them loosly by the story/novel they figure most prominently in, I printed off the list. It's three pages, two of which are featured in that screen shot above.
The next step is to created a separate topic in the WhizFolder document FOS Worksheets which I created for the express purpose of organizing and keeping tabs on all of the elements of the story world that might tend to affect the entire collection of stories. Like the roster and the time line.
As I create those Whiz topics--which are like mini documents inside the main document--I'll be dropping all relevant info regarding the characters into them and in the cases of major characters creating subtopics so I don't have to scroll thru several thousand words to find one fact.
This is where I'll do the character sketches and other exercises that help flesh out a character. Like Laurie Hutzler's The Emotional Toolbox and The Nine Character Types. I was introduced to these by Joely Sue Burkart nearly two years ago and since then have occasionally found a concept useful when it occurred to me to try it or have had an aha thought about one of my characters while reading the advice on Laurie's or Joely's sites but I've never applied myself to putting all the characters of a WIP through their paces as delineated by Hutzler. That's what I'm setting out to do now for all dozen plus WIP already in the storyworld though I will be focusing more intensely on a select few--Faye's story and Crystal's story because they are two of the most dependent on the cult thread which must be well defined before I can proceed; and Julia's story, which is tightly entwined with her twin Faye's story, because if I can solve the puzzle of the cult by the end of October than I can run with Julia's story for my NaNo novel.
I'm itching to start writing scenes again and hope to do so for Faye's and Crystal's stories but I'll restrain myself with Julia's story until November 1, doing only prep work--character sketches, time line, plot, scene lists, research etc.