I am now writing my fifth book of a young adult series concerning the eponymous hero Jack Janson. At the beginning in book 1, Jack is a few days short of his twelfth birthday and now, in book 5 he is 18.
It takes a lot of organising and managing to keep track of characters who recur in the books and also what has happened and to whom. Without good records it would be a chaotic mess and the writer would not be able to keep track of the important stuff, or get it wrong by having someone who may already be dead coming back in a following book.
This is where an organised mind and yes, you guessed it, a writers best friend the spread sheet comes into its own. I have many spread sheets for my writing, mostly word count, chapter summaries, and so on, but there is one that when writing series fiction is invaluable.
It is my book date spread sheet. It has the list of characters, books they appear in, salient action and events they are part of. Some characters are not in some books but come back later and it is important to know the big 5 questions. Who, what, where, when, and why?
Keep the spread sheet up to date and it will reward you with instant data that is correct, relevant and this will enable you to write and not throw your hands up in despair while you try to think what book that character had that argument or scene about so and so that you need to know about now. Your thread will be lost, it will hack you off and above all, it is unnecessary.
Check out the buy my books pages for where you can get hold of my books.
This and other great handy tips for writers is in my book The Handbook Of TOP TIPS To Manage Your Writing, available in paperback from Amazon and the author.