Background in the third of a series is vitally important. Especially when you discover it’s several years since you published book 2. This year’s AtoZChallenge is mainly about my writing, and my Work In Progress, a science fiction adventure called Zanzibar’s Rings, that I’m logging at CampNaNoWriMo.

B for Background

Background detail long forgotten

So, I knew all my main protagonists, and who they were. I knew what I wanted to happen, and several twists and turns along the way. But I hadn’t got to the end of the second page before I realised I’d forgotten all the detail of the previous books.

  • names of the protagonist’s sister , let alone her family
  • how many refugees were airlifted and relocated
  • the need to keep the refugee’s place of origin secret from the antagonist
  • the name of the planet that specialised in seed growing (and other agricultural things)
  • the terminology for various space artefacts
  • the names of the council members on the home planet

And that is just in the first chapter. I got so fed up with this, and worrying about plot points as I wrote them, that I spent last weekend rereading the two previous books. Oh, skimming parts of them that weren’t relevant to this book, yes, but … If you write, do you find yourself getting to a point where you’re reading it because you’re enjoying it?

I found I hadn’t noted any of the character names and these terminology and peculiarities in my datasheet – or bible, as it is also known. How had I written the previous book without that? Or… had I lost the update and was working from a previous version? I wrote the previous two books in the series on a different computer, after all. No matter, it’s up to date now.


So while I’d hoped to start this month at 20,000 words, I was a little short. But not much. And it only makes a difference of about 100 words per day.

And I start today at…. 19,993!

Yesterday I showed you the starting point and the daily total required. I’m updating it in the progress bar (#amwriting) at the foot of the page. So far, so good!


B is for Background – Getting it right #AtoZChallenge2021
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5 thoughts on “B is for Background – Getting it right #AtoZChallenge2021

  • 2 April, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    I have the same problems with remembering non-main characters and places, Jemima. I do a lot of skimming and word searches!

  • 2 April, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Sounds frustrating. I keep forgetting things that are different from draft to draft. Looks like you have a good start!

  • 2 April, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Jemima – keep going otherwise you’ll forget this recent ‘background’ – all the best and have a peaceful Easter and then success thereafter – Hilary

  • 3 April, 2021 at 5:53 am

    Your post brought back some memories for me. Early into my first novel of my series, I had completed a computer genealogy chart with notes for my protagonist and her family to keep everyone straight for future novels. Turned out to be a godsend for reference purposes during the next ten years.

    • 3 April, 2021 at 7:43 am

      I generally do well on the first novel. I can’t imagine why there are no notes for the second! Glad your genealogy series went so well.


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