When I take on a new project, I have to thoroughly break down the background information. Who this character is, why they do what they do, where they grew up, and where they live now.
If it’s parnormal, I create rules…very specific rules with the understanding that if these rules are broken (after I create them), something catastrophic will happen.
I draw maps (or find them), take notes on rooms of a home that I would come back to time and again, and document little tidbits of information that need to be leaked out for the overal story arc. I also have pictures of the hero, heroine, and all major characters. But where do I put them all?
I use Scrivener to house all my information. I can pull up maps and coordinates, pictures and notes, and everything in between. I can have a file that holds all the information that nags at me when I’m writing…you know, what color was that horse the hero was riding? How did he tip his hat when he was perplexed…stuff like that. Do you have to use them? Of course not! I used to keep an index file with images, notes and maps paperclipped to the folder. It worked for me for many years…but I *never* throw anything away. So finally the clutter was becoming too much.
Over the next few days I’m going to break down how I build up a world, and I invite you to come along.