Archive of Articles about Writing

Sample information guide for your novel

This is a brief example of an information guide. There are no hard and fast rules for information guides, so feel free to customize this to fit your needs.

Spelling and Usage

This is a place to put down any special words or jargon that the characters use.

Acronyms:

OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
D&D: Short for Dungeons and Dragons, a game played by many of the older characters when they were teenagers.

Terms:

Detachment Disorder: A feeling of emotional distance from one’s life. This term is coined by Roland August. It is not a real-life name for a disorder.
Nevendad: Short for Never Ending Adventures. A fictionalized online game that combines elements of World of WarcraftSecond Life and FaceBook.

Relationships

This usually works better graphically than in print, but here is a brief way to do it in print.

Chelsea August: Daughter of Anne August. Believes she is daughter of Roland August but her biological father is Henry Jarvis. Sister of Jake August. Models for Don Hau. Patient of Dr. Sharon Thewes, therapist. No close friends.

Mike Cove: Unmarried but living with Ella Aufran. Friends with Roland August, Anne August, Larry Parris, Henry Jarvis, Marisol Rivera.

Characters

This is a great place to record minor characters and give them brief descriptions

Marisol Rivera: Waitress at BD’s on 22nd Street. 24 years old. Five feet two inches tall. Black curly hair. Brown eyes. Dresses in black. Smokes clove cigarettes and wears too much mascara. Part-time college student studying art. Often drinks at the bar with Mike Cove after her shift is finished.

Dr. Sharon Thewes: 48 years old. Psychologist to Chelsea August. Teaches part-time at the community college in addition to maintaining her own practice. Dresses somewhat formally, preferring pantsuits in browns and grays. Believes in encouraging patients to find their own answers. Non-smoker, light drinker. Divorced.

This is a good place to track names and nicknames. Spelling and Usage can also be used for this.

Roland August (Called Rollie by wife and friends, Roland by colleagues, Dad by his children)

Jake August (Always called Jake, never by real name, Jacob)

Locations

You can use maps and other graphics in this section.

Street Names:

Wilmot Road
Speedway Boulevard
22nd Street

Place Names:

BD’s on 22nd (Sometimes called “VD’s”)
River Walk (Blanket term for Rillito River Park and Pantano River Park)
Park Place (Formerly called Park Mall)
Stone Fountain Meditation Center

Plot Points

This can be very detailed or bare bones, but it should reflect the chronology that you have created. Here are the first few scenes for my novel.

  1. Errol Jarvis attempts suicide
  2. Anne August sees Henry Jarvis after 22 years
  3. Henry and Anne rescue Errol
  4. Henry moves in with Errol
  5. Chelsea August has first modeling job
  6. Henry eats dinner at Anne and Roland August’s
  7. Henry meets Chelsea and suspects she is his daughter
  8. Mike Cove goes to work at BD’s, sees Henry
  9. Henry meets up with Larry Parris
  10. Roland visits a therapist