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 Arrangement of character lists? 
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Post Arrangement of character lists?
Arrangement of character lists: alphabetical or ?

One of the things that I like for an author to include, whether AoS or otherwise, is a list of characters (and a very terse description) at the beginning of the book. However, the arrangement of the names is sometimes difficult to use, depending on how (or where) the author displays the list.

I usually make one for each book as part of my normal notes. I do this even if the author includes a list as I might add certain descriptions that the author doesn't, such as does the character die or the page number that something significant happens, a special relationship, etc. However, having the author supply one is very helpful as it gives me a reference to help me make my own list.

However, the arrangement of the names is sometimes difficult for me as I do not know how many characters will be in the book nor the importance of any character that is introduced, other than the characters mentioned in the jacket notes. Of, course the author knows all this before his/her book goes to print.

Usually, if I know that one or more major ships are involved with multiple characters in each ship, I set up sections in my notes for each ship with the ships' names, a brief description (type, guns, etc.) and then leave room underneath for the officers and start entering the petty officers and sailors for each ship under the officers, as I run across them. Most of the time this works but I have re-written the whole character list if the book is very complex. If I do re-write the list, all minor characters are put in alphabetical order.

I seem to think that the list supplied by the author should be in alphabetical order rather than the order of introduction but I have not noticed any pattern that all authors follow. Alphabetical at least allows you to quickly find a character when he pops up again at a later time. Having a list supplied by the author in the order of introduction requires the reader to remember approximately "when" to find "who." Also, the question arises: does the order of appearance apply to when the character is first mentioned and his major responsibilities are discussed or when he actually speaks?

Of course, if the book has only a small number of characters, maybe a list is not needed at all. I remember reading the last book in the Clan of the Cave Bear series (by Jean Auel) which had an incredible number of characters and caused me no end of trouble to record them all. When I reached the end of the book, I found that the author had included a complete list there. I was somewhat miffed. Of course, there were lots of other problems with that particular book as well.

How do others here feel about the order of this list? Alphabetical, order of appearance, some other method? Or, just be thankful that an author supplies one at all!

Don


Sat Jul 14, 2007 1:09 pm
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Generally, it doesn't matter to me if a character list is included in a book or not.

To be sure, one is helpful if the book is part of a long running series with a lot of characters involved.

The only fiction books I take notes for are the AoS ones. In my lists, I write down most of the people mentioned, but only include them as a character if they actually appear in a scene (they don't have to have any dialog). For order of appearance, it's the same...they have to actually appear.

I prefer alphabetical order.

The best thing is to have an electronic database where everything is cross referenced. :D

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susan


Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:33 pm
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susan wrote:
The best thing is to have an electronic database where everything is cross referenced. :D

Susan, I like your idea. I realize that the "emoticon" that you used was to represent that you were only partly serious about your comment but some book series do have on-line resources that approach or exceed your "best thing." One that comes to mind is the Harry Potter books. There are on-line descriptions of characters, spells, creatures, etc. The LOTR books have a lot of resources on-line also.

One AoS resource that was posted on-line by "Hornpipermark," called the Bolitho Concordance, is an excellent guide through the Kent/Reeman's series. I do not know who Hornpipermark is in real life but I do not think he is officially associated with the author. In this particular case, the last update I have seen covers only through "Man of War." I hope he is still keeping this current with the latest books but I cannot find him on-line any longer.

With so many authors having their own websites I have often wondered why they don't post a cross-reference of their books, characters, ships, etc. and an errata list for each book. I realize that writing is not only a very personal experience but a time consuming one and that an author might not like to expend his time in such an endeavor [when he/she could be working on the next book] nor turn such a project over to someone else.

I have often wanted a "concordance" for the Aubrey/Maturin series but the effort to create one would truly be Herculean - even if one had access to POB's own notes.

Don


Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:45 am
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timoneer wrote:
but some book series do have on-line resources that approach or exceed your "best thing."

Well...I do hope some people find SN to be of some use. :lol: I realize there's still work to be done, but I do add to it on a regular basis. Right now it's just characters and ships, but I have thought about expanding it to places as well. There's also a character chronology that I have planned. Too much to do, too little time.

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I have often wanted a "concordance" for the Aubrey/Maturin series but the effort to create one would truly be Herculean - even if one had access to POB's own notes.

I believe the POB fans are working on a Wiki project. I have a limited listing on SN.

In terms of authors having such features on their personal sites, I think it's a time thing. It takes time to set up a database and enter in the data. To pay someone to get it up and running and to keep it updated may be more than they are willing to commit to.

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Sun Jul 15, 2007 2:30 am
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timoneer wrote:
I do not know who Hornpipermark is in real life but I do not think he is officially associated with the author.



..... I do ;) .....and, no, he isn't



Quote:
In this particular case, the last update I have seen covers only through "Man of War." I hope he is still keeping this current with the latest books but I cannot find him on-line any longer. Don


.....as far as I know, he is no longer keeping his lists.

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Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:36 am
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susan wrote:
Well...I do hope some people find SN to be of some use.
Absolutely!

susan wrote:
I believe the POB fans are working on a Wiki project.
Is this the project at the "Gunroom"? I have checked back there several times and don't find much beyond the announcement.

Mil Goose wrote:
.....as far as I know, he [Hornpipermark] is no longer keeping his lists [Bolitho Concordance].

Rats! That is a shame, as I printed it out some time ago and each time I go through the books, I use it.

With regard to the Bolitho books, there is a dedicated fan that is posting a book-by-book lising of characters, etc. His handle is donkiote7 and his information is posted at the Yahoo Bolitho Group. I have actually assisted him in a small way the last time I re-read the series. Nice guy and completely unconnected to the author.

The POB Wiki project, Hornpipermark's concordance, donkiote7's efforts, and Susan's SN seem to point out that such a need exists. And in the case of the more popular works, some people are willing to step up, invest some major time, and help their fellow readers. Kudos to them!

I make lists of characters for some SF series too, especially if the names are difficult to remember (i.e. non-human). For one series, I even printed out the list in bookmark size. This I took from book to book, adding characters, in pencil at first, as I went. Having the character list on the bookmark meant that it was always right where I needed to consult it. [Yes, I know... a little weird... a little anal... I've heard it all before. :D ]

Don


Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:38 am
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timoneer wrote:
Having the character list on the bookmark meant that it was always right where I needed to consult it.


Actually, putting a list of characters on a bookmark is a swell idea. I just might steal it. :wink:

The cast of characters in my books is in order of appearance. That's partly a reflection of how I compile it—at the top of the Word doc as I'm writing—and partly a reflection of why I compile it, which is just so I can remember who's called what. To keep it to a manageable length, I only put in characters who actually appear and who actually have lines, unless they're very important to the story. I have included dead men, for instance, who wouldn't normally be expected to say much.

I do keep an alphabetical list as well, though, to keep me from using too many names beginning with the same letter. I'll be sure to instruct my minions to insert that list next time. Perhaps they will even heed me.

I like Don's idea of keeping an errata page on my website. Naturally I hope it would be a very small one.

Re the POB characters, here's a compendium of the characters from the movie, anyway, with comparisons to their counterparts in the books: http://www.agbfinebooks.com/Publication ... Frames.htm

Broos

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Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:31 pm
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Somehow I just don't think it would fit on a bookmark but...

Here's the character list from The Frigate Captain

/>/> = leading character, /> = major character, }} = minor character, } = walk-on character

(in order of appearance)

John Sinclair – Captain, HMS Sapphire, 36 />/>
Admiralty Clerk, Lieutenant }
Lieutenant Fanshaw – Admiralty clerk }
Joseph Milton – Lord St. John’s private secretary }
Lord St. John – 2nd Lord of the Admiralty }}
Sir Malcolm Parker – Rear Admiral, St. John's chief strategist }
Ian MacGregor – Captain Sinclair’s cox’n />
Sir Giles Humbarton – Captain, Chief of Staff to the Portsmouth port admiral }
Bron Helstrom – Bosun, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Alfred Bassingford, MD – Surgeon, HMS Sapphire, 36 />
Bartholomew Jones – 1st Lieutenant, HMS Sapphire, 36 />
Ford – Purser, HMS Sapphire, 36 }
Oliver Simpson – Portsmouth Victualling Superintendent }
Walter Cutler – Senior Midshipman, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
William Tremaine – Marine Lieutenant, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Jock Calhoun – Marine Sergeant, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Gregory Archer – Captain, HMS Spartan, 74 }
Jennifer Willis Mason – Neophyte British agent, wife of William Mason />/>
Mary Stewart – Jennifer Mason’s friend and bodyguard, wife of Nicolas Stewart />
James Ravenwood – Printer & Suspected Yankee Spy }}
Quimby – Chief Clerk at Ravenwood’s bookstore }
William Mason – Master & Commander, HMS Paladin, 18 />/>
Nicolas Stewart – Commander Mason’s cox’n />
Jack Robertson – 1st Lieutenant, HMS Paladin, 18 />
O’Connor – Junior Midshipman, HMS Paladin, 18 }}
Richard Mason III – Merchant Captain & senior British agent />
Ronald Scarboro – Major, Royal Marines & senior British agent }}
Liam Talbot – 2nd Lieutenant, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Reginald Shea – Junior Midshipman, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Andrew Bailey – Captain Sinclair’s steward }}
Thomas O’Rourke – Midshipman, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
The Honourable Charles Courtenay – Colonel, 60th Regiment of Foot }}
George Therrien – Colonel, 16th Regiment of Foot />
Maisie Hollis – A soldier’s wife who works for Jennifer Mason }}
Dunkin – Ship’s Cat, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Nathan Zachary – 3rd Lieutenant, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Neville – Masthead lookout, HMS Paladin, 18 }}
Elijah Boyd – Sailing Master, HMS Paladin, 18 }}
Thomas Kennedy – Senior Midshipman, HMS Paladin, 18 }}
Eric Harmon – Surgeon, HMS Paladin, 18 />
Oakley – Commander Mason’s steward }}
Georgia – Ship’s Cat, HMS Paladin, 18 }}
Jacob Coleman – Chief Clerk at Mason Shipping’s New York office }}
Albert Prewitt – General handyman & bodyguard for Jennifer Mason }}
Randall Jenkinson – Colonel, 28th Regiment of Foot }}
Hollis – Sergeant, 28th Regiment of Foot, Maisie’s husband }}
Jamie Dunne – Sailing Master, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Tara Mason – William Mason’s sister />/>
Sir Edmund Hailliwell – Vice Admiral, Portsmouth port admiral }
Stephen Mason – William Mason’s 13-year-old brother />
Carter – Bosun’s mate, HMS Avenger, 74 }
Henri-Albere Montaigne – Captain of the French frigate Enchante />
Joan Lindsey – Jennifer Mason’s aunt, wife of the Canon of Salisbury }
Will Sommersby – Proprietor of the Crown & Castle Inn in Thornbury }
Jack Sommersby – Will’s brother, Captain Sinclair’s butler at White Oaks }}
Ida Sommersby – Jack’s wife, Captain Sinclair’s senior housekeeper at White Oaks }}
Michael Gilmore – Captain, RN, William Mason’s bother-in-law />
Alice Gilmore Willis – Michael Gilmore’s sister }}
Alice Anne Willis – Daughter of Alice and Benjamin Willis }}
William Willis – Son of Alice and Benjamin Willis }}
Bill Rolland – Solicitor for Willis Woolen Mill }}
Helen Willis Rolland – Bill’s wife, sister of Jennifer and Winifred }
Winifred Willis Gilmore – Wife of Michael, sister of Jennifer and Helen }}
Nanny Bates – Nanny to William, Alice Anne & Peter Willis }
Andrew Cross – Master’s Mate, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Elizabeth Hill – Maid at White Oaks }
Stokes – Saville Row tailor that William Mason patronizes }
Sir Avery Canning – Rear Admiral, New York’s Inshore Squadron }}
Reese – Lucinda Graydon’s dresser and friend
Lucy Mason aka Lucinda Graydon – Actress & British agent, wife of Richard Mason III }}
Collins – Major from the New York Provost Marshal’s office }}
Nathaniel Valdez – Former 5th Lieutenant, HMS Triumph, 74 }}
Robert Mason – Former 6th Lieutenant, HMS Invincible, 74, William Mason’s younger brother }}
Reginald Trent – Former 5th Lieutenant, HMS Invincible, 74, friend of Robert Mason }
Benjamin Willis – Embezzler, thief and adulterer, husband of Alice Gilmore Willis }
Sally Hill – Thief, mistress and accomplice of Benjamin Willis }
Richard Mason Jr. – Patriarch of the Mason family & Head of Mason Shipping }}
Mrs. Robertson – The Mason’s Scottish housekeeper }
James Mason – William Mason’s older brother, a director of Mason Shipping }}
Gertrude Mackenzie – Overbearing harpy out to snare a Mason for her daughter}
Amelia Mackenzie – Gertrude’s attractive but empty-headed daughter }
Keith Preston – Manager of Mason Shipping’s Halifax Office}
Laura Preston – Keith’s daughter, in love with James Mason }}
Joe & Willie – Henchmen hired by Montaigne }}
Joseph Harrison – Senior Master’s Mate, HMS Sapphire, 36 }}
Josephus Dickenson – Continental Army Captain, West Point garrison }}
Landrum – Captain, Pollepel Island prison camp }}
Polk – Sergeant of the Guard, Pollepel Island prison camp }
Tucker – Guard, Pollepel Island prison camp }
Clay – Carolina born Sergeant, West Point garrison }
Mrs. Jenkinson – Colonel Jenkinson’s wife }
George Washington – General, Continental Army }

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Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:42 am
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Quote:
I have often wanted a "concordance" for the Aubrey/Maturin series but the effort to create one would truly be Herculean - even if one had access to POB's own notes.


Yes, it -was- a Herculean task, undertaken by Anthony Gary Brown. Several years ago, Gary published 'Persons, Animals, Ships, and Cannon of the Aubrey-Maturin Sea Novels of Patrick O'Brian'. PASC not only has an entry for every character that appears, but also for every other named person/mythological figure/historical reference that is mentioned. It is not just a listing of names, but a biographical dictionary that explores the likely or possible historical basis for the characters, fictional and real.

A second edition, entitled 'The Patrick O'Brian Muster Book', was published within the last year, and has been updated to include all 21 books, including the last, unfinished novel.

POB would have benefited greatly from Gary Brown's book. O'Brian did not keep detailed notes and was continually changing spellings and first names from volume to volume, even occasionally forgetting who he had killed off. These inconsistencies are of course noted in Gary Brown's compilation.

Don Seltzer


Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:12 pm
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Don Seltzer wrote:
A second edition, entitled 'The Patrick O'Brian Muster Book', was published within the last year, and has been updated to include all 21 books, including the last, unfinished novel.

Thanks, Don S. I had forgotten that particular book when I made my post. It is excellent.
Don C


Sat Jul 21, 2007 6:55 pm
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Don Seltzer wrote:
O'Brian did not keep detailed notes and was continually changing spellings and first names from volume to volume, even occasionally forgetting who he had killed off. These inconsistencies are of course noted in Gary Brown's compilation.

Yes...very confusing. I try to note them as well in my listing.

Hey! Maybe I should try to make money and publish books of my listings. :twisted: :lol: At least I don't have to pay for a designer and I can probably get a break on printing from one of the printers I work with. :mrgreen:

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Sat Jul 21, 2007 7:05 pm
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