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General Writing and Grammar Help/Keeping track of subject matter


Authors often have a dozen or more characters in their novel, going to a xx number of places and doing xx number of things. My question is what method does an author use to keep track of everyone and everything as s/he progresses through a 300,000 word novel? How do they keep from mixing places and people’s habits up?

Hi Michael, great question!

I use two different programs for this. The first one is a freeware application called WikidPad ( This is essentially a "Wiki" (think Wikipedia) that runs privately on your computer. I build an entire encyclopedia on my stuff as I write. Every character, every location, etc. It's in there. There's a lot more background information that isn't included in the novel to help me keep things straight.

As far as keeping events and timelines straight, I use a program called Aeon Timeline ( I think it was about $40 or so, but it's well worth the investment. I can color code things by character, by location, or any other variable. I can also set up things to be one small event, or show things that last for long durations of time as well. This program comes with a free trial period - 30 days of actual use.

I hope this helps!

Kind Regards,

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Johnathan Clayborn


I can answer a broad range of questions about both academic and creative writing. I can answer questions about APA format, research and references, essay structure and more. I am particularly helpful in the areas of character development, storyline development, etc. and I can provide authors with an array of tools to help them organize their work.


I minored in English for my Bachelor's degree. I have also written several books and I run a small publishing company (before you ask, we're not accepting submissions at this time). I have written both fiction and non-fiction books and I have been published in newspapers and written articles for major internet websites.

Alpha Chi, Psi Chi, Kappa Delta Pi, APA

MS, Educational Psychology, BS Psychology (English minor)

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