Sometimes the best advice is the telling off you give yourself
I need to be clear here about my definition of a Saga. To me this is a vast story where there is a logical relationship between each character and every other part of the story. This is different from a series of books simply set in a reusable location where characters and storylines may only have a relationship through coincidence, however well planned that coincidence might be!
In some ways a Saga is almost closer to the short story in that you really must connect the dots properly if, thousands of words later, the reader still knows who they hell you are going on about.
Back to those two sheets of paper.
In this case one sheet is who and what happened to them, just as in a novel.
The second sheet is for why that matters to anyone else in the past, present or future.
The rule of writing says introduce nothing that is superfluous to need. Now, I do not always agree with this and sometimes it is nice to pop in an irrelevance just to help give an impression. For instance, your character might not like grapes and you might use that as a way of describing the interesting way they turn their nose up when coming across something they do not like. In a shorter story you may never need to use the specific aversion to grapes again, but in a Saga that is spread over perhaps, years, it might well come up. You need to remember this. You might even need to know WHY they dislike grapes (runs in the family, perhaps?)
Okay, so a dislike of grapes is a somewhat silly example, but it is easy to see how even the smallest detail about a character or event might echo down the line and may even tell the reader something of the past too. In a Saga, the "Back Story," can often become the front story!
Next: Don't make notes, write stories »