Back into the forest

This one is for the writers. Or anyone more organized than me, I guess. I’m in a bit of a quandary. I seem to be having an affair on The Girls Nobody Wanted to Date. I’m 35,000 words into it, which means I’m more than halfway done since it’s a young adult novel. But the werewolves have called me back to the forest. All weekend I’ve been switching between Girls and Nadia’s Children, the new Werewolf Saga book. I will literary end a sentence in one manuscript and go to the other one. I have never had success working on two major projects, but right now neither seems to be suffering, probably because they are very, very different. I know some of you do multiple books at a time. How do you do it?

Here’s the bigger thing, though. I’m having a heck of a time keeping my characters straight. Girls has been such a long project, put on hold for the super secret project and ignored for the day job, etc., that I’ve simply forgotten some of the characters’ names. With The Werewolf Saga, there are just so freakin’ many names to remember now that I’m up to the fifth book, that I can’t keep them all straight. How do you do it? I would like to create a database where I could search by various criteria, but I have no idea how to create that. When I wrote Shara I kept a handwritten list of characters for reference, but I didn’t do that with Ulrik and now I’m really wishing I had. Any suggestions for keeping all these people organized for easy recall?

For those interested, I’ve only done about 6,000 words of Nadia’s Children. Two new characters have been introduced, but one of those was already killed. He was like a Star Trek character in the Red Shirt of Death.

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