Second of all, let me explain what a meta document is. These are documents, usually on a computer but sometimes physical, that hold other information about your characters and world-building that is not included in the manuscript. Scott Westerfeld created the term here. I discussed the most well known meta document of all in my last post. The Outline. Meta documents are, to quote Scott Westerfeld himself "documents about the main document." There are many types of meta document, and I highly encourage you to check out the original post over on Scott Westerfeld's blog.
Think about it: novels are at least 50,000 words, and can be three times that length or more. That’s a huge project, and you, dear novelist, are the Project Manager. You need a clipboard with you at all times, or you will start forgetting stuff.There are so many types of meta document that they can't all be listed. Each author has their own set of meta documents. In the original post the Timeline is covered. I haven't used a timeline for the last book or for this one, especially since this is set in the summer, but I did for my first book. It needed particularly careful scheduling.
Some other meta documents include:
Character Sheets (all the details about a character and their life story)
Notes (for revisions)
Summary (writing a summary of the story before I even write an outline really helps me to figure out where a story is going)
Really, you can make any kind of meta documents you think your book will need. I keep a lot of mine in Evernote (which is the best program for writers, in my opinion, as referenced in this post) and some on index cards hung up on my closet's outside doors. What methods work for you? Share below in the comments.