World Building: Management Edition

Help me out, folks.

I’m writing the third (and final, I think) book of The Sidhe Diaries for this year’s NaNoWriMo. For the most part, it’s going quite well. I’ve got some deliciously depraved bad guys, some loose end tying up of epic proportions, some fun new applications of the practical magic the sidhe call the silver. But I’m running into a bit of a problem: my world is outgrowing my brain space.

Three books in, I have a decent cast of characters who have changed and grown over the arc of the story. The major characters are easy enough to keep track of: they’re constantly in the action, so my mind is always working with their motivations and knowledge. I’m finding, however, that minor characters who I have not been constantly with or taking decent reference notes on, are supremely annoying to keep track of. I think I may have accidentally resurrected the family dog in the third book after forgetting whether I did or did not kill it in the second, for example, and I can’t for the life of me remember or find the name of a character who was of minor importance in Autumn’s Daughter, non-existent in Autumn’s Sister, but who is coming back around to be somewhat more important in Autumn’s Exile.

Anyone have any brilliant, low-maintenance, easily searchable ideas for keeping track of things like characters, rules of the magical system, physical descriptions of completely fictional places, etc.? The notes system in my writing software, which works tolerably well for a standalone story, is turning out to be too cumbersome to be a useful reference over a series.

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