Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Series Bible

I was working on JACOB WONDERBAR #2 the other day and it came time to reintroduce a teacher that plays an important role in the first book. I summoned my mental image of the teacher...... which was completely blank.

What did she look like again? What color hair and eyes did she have? Total blank.

I mean, I'm not great with faces in real life, let alone with fictional characters. I think have a mild form of that face blindness thing, so by the way if I meet you again in real life and I have a blank look on my face it's not personal I think you're great just give me some context!!!!!!! (Luckily my wife will spot someone on the street and say things like, "That is the person who sold me a lollipop when I went to the county fair in 1985 but now they have orange hair." I'm surprised she hasn't been hired by the CIA)

Anyway, I mentioned how I forgot all about the teacher to my wife and she nodded knowingly and said, "Time to work on your Series Bible."

Series Bibles take many different forms. Sometimes when writers are coming into an already-existing series or, say, a line of books with certain rules (such as in romance) the Series Bible will give them the characters, world, plotlines, and rules that the writer has to follow.

But you can also create your own - if you're writing a series, or even if you're just crafting a single novel set in a unique world with its own rules, I highly recommend creating your own Series Bible. Whenever you reintroduce a character the Series Bible will remind you what they look like. If you have different worlds/planets/lands/classrooms/lairs you won't have to go hunting through your manuscript to try and remember which one is which.

The Series Bible is a lifesaver when your brain has reached capacity.

What to include:

- Characters: What they look like (just copy and paste straight from the book), how many brothers and sisters they have, important events in their past, personality traits, etc. Also, any unique schedules they have, hobbies, etc. I'd include all characters, major and minor. You never know who's going to reappear.
- Worlds/Planets/Lands/Classrooms/etc.: What they look like, their backstory, any important details, etc.
- Rules of Law: Any important/unique laws or conventions, styles, etc.
- Any backstory that happens off the page: Make sure you know and keep track of all the key details.
- Inventions/Special Powers: This is important, especially for science fiction and fantasy. When you invent something, even when it's just barely mentioned, it can create huge repercussions for the rest of the story. For instance, if you introduce a personal hyperwarp drive, whenever a character is in trouble your reader will be like, "Duh, use the personal hyperwarp drive, USE THE PERSONAL HYPERWARP DRIVE!!" Keep track of our inventions and powers, and make sure their rules of use are clearly delineated.
- Anything else you need to remember for later

Your Series Bible will save you when you paper over a plot hole only to open up a big ole gaping chasm somewhere else in the book.

Now I just need one for my real life.

Photo © 2004 by Tomasz Sienicki via Creative Commons License






93 comments:

lisanneharris said...

This is excellent and timely advice. Thanks for thinking of it. BTW, have a stellar day!

Melissa said...

Hmph. I needed one for my standalone novel just to keep the details consistent!

Emily White said...

I've been thinking of writing down my own series bible. So far, I've been committing it all to memory and haven't had any problem. But I still think it would come in handy, just in case.

And I am great with faces, but awful with names. If I see someone I haven't seen in years, I can remember tiny little details like your wife, but I will NEVER know the name. It can get quite embarrassing when you're five minutes into a conversation and you still don't know who it is you're talking to.

Sarah Enni said...

Awesome post! I need to do this bigtime so I can remember who was plotting what against who and backstabbed this other guy....

Thanks!!

Melissa Eiselein said...

Microsoft OneNote (which comes with some Microsoft Office Suites) is excellent for this. And to keep from losing the electronic file, try saving it to Dropbox: http://tinyurl.com/y6hbfbz
You can get 2gb of online file space for free, which means lots and lots of Word document storage.

treeoflife said...

Nathan, any software that you'd recommend for this?

I've traditionally used the "Messy stack of randomly ordered papers" tactic...

Gerri said...

Liquid Story Binder is an excellent program to help with making a series bible. Handy note taking functions, and all that. And no, I don't work for the company. :p

Candice Gilmer said...

I love series bibles, I use them all the time.

I do spreadsheets of my main characters, with wonderful questions like "Favorite alcoholic drink" "Coffee preferences" "Car details" and "favorite karaoke song." It always adds a wonderful layer when writing to know how your characters take their coffee. :)

Scott said...

Great advice, Nathan. Useful for editing, as well. I can say that I've had to go digging a number of times to refresh myself on some of the more arcane character details.

The Daring Novelist said...

I call it "face myopia" and I swear I have it too. (I can recognize faces, but only with effort.) As another commenter said, though, names and spellings may also need to be recorded.

But to the point of the article... Series Bibles can be fun, and therefore are a wonderful time sink. Beware of losing yourself in them.

Amy B. said...

Jim Butcher has a wonderful post on his Livejournal wherein, among other things, he talks about having key visual phrases for characters in a series. This way, whenever a character is re-introduced, it helps differentiate them from other characters and also immediately draws up a mental image for the reader.

And yes, every writer of series' needs their series bible.

Thermocline said...

I drew a map of the summer camp my MG novel is set in before I started writing. It has been a huge help in visualizing what the place looks like as my characters move through it.

Paul and Karen said...

That's right and your editor will need a copy too. ;) Otherwise readers will think Janie likes to visit the hair salon day by day with the rate she changes hair color and styles!

I'm working on mine now, supposedly Liquid Story Binder is good for this but I haven't figured it out yet, sigh.

Great post! Karen

Josin L. McQuein said...

Ha! I was doing this yesterday to straighten out some details in my next WIP. (Gotta write them down when they come or else they'll disappear and never come back.)

(Ditto the praise for Liquid Story Binder)

D. G. Hudson said...

Excellent post, as I'm starting to gather information together on the novel draft just finished, for future use.

I've had that 'blank' moment already, and I (being of the female gender), have an excellent memory for faces, too. However, it's not the same when the faces are in my mind -- somehow it doesn't seem to have the same connection that seeing a live person has in the memory cells.

The Series Bible is a great suggestion and something I've been partially doing in the writing program I use. Thanks for sharing and for giving your wife credit for the idea.

Does the wife write too? Just wondering.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I think making the series bible is one of the most fun parts! I make them now even if I'm writing a standalone.

Of course, it's important to remember to update the series bible as needed. Sometimes backstory and motivation, etc., can change as you progress through the novel. You don't want to consult a series bible that says a character did something because of X when the story has evolved so that they've really done it because of Y!

Gypsyroz Poet said...

I use New Novelist 2.0 for my series bible. It asks detailed questions for each character, object, place, and for research and ideas.

Also, I don't have to close down my document to access this info; it's always ready whenever I'm blanking.

But with any specialty software I try to back everything up in a word doc as well.

Anonymous said...

maybe I missed the post, but when did Jacob become a series?

Kimber An said...

This is also an excellent marketing tool, especially for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and younger readers. A lot of these readers loooove to dissect and stun you and argue with you over every little detail. I can't count the times my daughter has said, furiously, "I'm writing to J.K. Rowling about this!" Personally, I would create an encyclopedia and have it free for download in some way from my website.

T. Anne said...

I use spiral bound notebooks for my series bible. I have two of them, one for each series I wrote. For my 'stand alones' I just open a new window in word.

Your wife is very wise!

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Well, my thoughts on series is that it's not a series until the second book is published. I'm superstitious like that.

Claire Dawn said...

In my only attempt at fantasy, I had to use one to keep track of the properties of plants, characters, names of villages and other places, etc.

It was useful, ubt it was a pain in the butt. Guess, I'm never writing another fantasy (or a series for that matter).

A cool thing is to have pictures of my characters. I just poked around online for people who fit my image of my characters and saved them. Now I can just look at them and describe :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Josie! I was going to rec the Liquid Story Binder that you rec'd to me ... but you beat me to it.

But I lurves it, even though I only use 0.5% of the capabilities of that software. Still awesome, and has saved me from tragic WIP problems.

Thanks!

Joseph L. Selby said...

On behalf of your future copyeditor, a story bible is also one step toward a style sheet, which every book should offer to its copyeditor (both for their sanity and yours). People, places, relevant facts that may get contradicted throughout the course of the writing process. Specific spelling choices. The last thing you want is the copyeditor going through your story where you intentionally spelled Armour with a U and deleting them all if that's not the way it's supposed to be.

A style sheet is good for everybody.

Janet Johnson said...

Great Advice! Seriously, I've shouted at books before for not using the "hyperdrive device" or whatever. Too funny!

Kourtnie said...

I love this post! And here I thought I was an organizational nut when I did this.

The spiral ring blank notebooks they sell at Barnes and Nobles are wonderful for this. I count ten pages, label every ten page section with a sharpie (setting, character, plot, etc.) and write down all the ideas.

Not only does this help keep track of what you need to know from a book you're writing/already written, this lets you brainstorm about books that keep haunting you but haven't made it to the page. I have some spiralbound notebooks full to the brim with notes about a book that still needs to make it to MS Word. :)

Cherie Reich said...

Oh, I am right there with you, Nathan. I think I have that face blindness, too! *laughs* I have a horrible time remembering how I described someone, and I've gone back to previous chapters to see what's going on. The Series Bible is a wonderful idea. I'll have to do that. It'll help remembering minor characters names, too! Terrible, terrible with names. *shakes head*

C.S. Gomez said...

After completing the first draft of my adventure novel, I went immediately into making notes for an eventual series bible. Not only will it keep things straight, but it will also provide fodder for future entries if the main character's backstory comes into the forefront. That's another good reason to keep one.

Catherine Gayle said...

I keep everything in One Note. I've got Notebooks set up for each different manuscript or series, and I keep EVERYTHING in it. Characters, back story, editing notes, research. It's handy to have it all at my fingertips, especially since I might work on one project for a while, and then move on to a different one.

kimysworld said...

Nathan, I have a great program called Write It Now - it has tabs for characters, a diagram linking everyone and their relationship,and tabs for settings, events, ideas, and notes. I love it. Everything in one place. Check it out here:
http://www.ravensheadservices.com/index.php

mary said...

Ah! You've just given us the advantage, Nathan. Be it on your own head if every writer you meet from now on attempts to invent some elaborate history about how you actually connected with them way back when and how you were fabulously interested in their MS but you just don't remember... Or perhaps they do this anyway?

As to my series bible (aka: MY PREEEECIOUS)? I also keep my timeline of events in there.

Natalie and Rick Nuttall said...

My "series bible" is actually a spreadsheet. I started it because I couldn't remember which dragons were the bad ones and which were the good and what they looked like.

Now I use the same spreadsheet template for all of my novels just so I have a template of what my characters are. Then if I leave it for awhile, I can go back to the spreadsheet and say 'oh yeah, space monkeys with purple bellies are the bad guys!' without having to read the whole book again.

-Natalie

Word Verification: snati
Oddly enough, this is what my brother's called me when I was a child to irritate me.

Alyssa said...

I don't write series, but I totally have one of these for my novel and it's a godsend. It keeps my writing tight and my thoughts organized and plus it's a fun thing to do that's novel-related if you really get stuck while writing. It helps a lot with getting through "writer's block" and otherwise lack of motivation.

Brenda said...

Dumb Little Man (http://bit.ly/b7JjWI) has this same suggestion on today's post about 9 Habits for Completing Your Novel. It's as if the gods of cyberspace are saying, "Do it. Do it."

Marilyn Peake said...

Interesting about face recognition. I sympathize with Emily White – for me, the problem is names. I’m really good at remembering both faces and voices (I often recognize an actor in a movie many years later by either face or voice), but I’m horrible at remembering names. Even when I read novels, I tend to forget the characters’ names. I also tend to forget how a novel ends. What’s up with that? I can tell you all kinds of weird stuff about a novel, including psychological ways to analyze the story, symbols, artistry of language, but somehow I need to remind myself to concentrate on the ending to actually get it to go from my short-term memory into my long-term memory.

A Series Bible sounds like an interesting idea. My latest novel includes outer space as well as Earth, time travel and multiple time periods within the future, fictional military and government agencies, and quite a few characters. I even have a couple of characters whose names I created to sound like Chinese names that evolved over time after China became a world superpower. I ended up creating lists of who lived where in which time period, and got really good at searching my manuscript to look up information. :)

Jen P said...

Useful and timely advice. Like others, wondering what tool you find most effective? I've tried index cards in a box, notebooks and excel - but keep running out of space or needing to change things and redo - going to try a ring binder next, so pages can get added or removed at will. Other ideas?

Sissy said...

I have one of these, but it was just a spiral bound notebook with a character name or place at the top of each page. It really was helpful.

LJCohen said...

That's what I use a personal wiki for. I put tiddlywikiwrite together, specifically for writers, based on the tiddlywiki engine. It's free and open source and will run in any browser. It's meant as an offline, personal tool, rather than a colaborative one.

Feel free to use/modify/etc.

http://www.ljcohen.net/resources-wiki.html

ryan field said...

This is such a great thing to do. My series bible is a stack of notes scribbled down on the backs of envelopes, contracts, post-its, and napkins from my glove compartment that only I can understand. I have it down in theory, and it seems to work for me this way. But I need to work on the organization part.

Other Lisa said...

Heh. Oddly enough, considering how bad my memory is in many ways, the time I wrote a series (and lemme tell you, it was LOOONNNGGG, sort of steam-punky thing), I didn't have too much trouble keeping track of it -- EXCEPT...I had this imaginary city in which much of the action took place, and by the second book, I had to draw a map of it because I was constantly referring to landmarks in a particular part of the city, and it was a freakin' complicated, detailed city, and there was this chase scene...

The Red Angel said...

I absolutely love this post! I do a Series Bible for all my novels but I never knew that's what it was called. :)

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Nathan,
You want a face for your teacher... here, study this one!

First Pic in my gallery at...

http://www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=PYXX

Haste yee back ;-)

Kelly said...

Yes, when writing a novel, I always have a separate document that I guess you could call a "bible." Also a handwritten notebook to jot down little details that I later add to the bible.

Liberty Speidel said...

I've often wondered how writers of series' deal with tracking details. It's when you get an avid reader where they'll note details that gets you into problems. (I know that the J.D. Robb "In Death" series ran into a couple of these that had to be corrected later on.)

I've already got documents for character sketches on most of my stories, and when I get to the point of developing them into series, I know I'll have to expand. Good thing they're still flexible at this stage, being unpublished!

Susan Kelley said...

Wow, I thought I invented the term, Series Bible, but I guess I didn't. I have one for each of my four series, including the series I didn't sell yet. Writing fantasy, I have lots of things in there like monetary systems, lineage of characters and usually a roughly drawn map of the world.

Myrna Foster said...

That sounds like a great idea. Thanks!

Carpy said...

Great idea! I sometimes end up going back to the first novel for the minor details or I keep scraps of paper with timelines and birthdates of characters, just can't ever find those scraps. I think I'll get serious about starting my own Series Bible. Thank you, Nathan!

D.M.Cunningham said...

Working in TV it is imperative that you have a Series Bible. With several writers on a show, they need to know the world. For a singular writer, it is a godsend (no pun intended).

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see a well organized plan for something I've been doing for a long time now. My series Bible is a mess. But if you search on a character or place name, you're likely to find the appropriate description.

Adrianne

Hole in one said...

I was just thinking last night how I need some kind of notebook with everything I have come up with about my charactors. What a great name to call it.

Sam Hranac said...

I have always called this a character outline and included what you have as paragraphs plus the following as bullets.

Name
Age
Job
Height
Weight
Hair
Eyes
Voice
Scars
Physicality
Emotional balance
Home
Birthday
Birth place
Parents
Siblings
Marital status
Love
Offspring
Education
Important influences
Motto
Philosophy
Ambition
Fantasy
Animal / object comparison
Closest friend(s)
Acquaintances
Enemies
Afraid of
Sees self as
Is seen as
Best quality
Worst quality
Darkest secret
First impression
How they feel about people's opinions of them
Persistence level (1-10 scale)
Power level (1-10 scale)
Flexibility (1-10 scale)
Crisis reaction
Problem at story open
How problems get worse

Richard Mabry said...

I've done this all along, but just called them "notes." Thanks for the cool new name.

Ransom Noble said...

Great advice. I definitely need a series bible!

Rick Daley said...

Great post, thanks (again, but hey, thanking you never gets old).

I'd add one thing: a timeline.

I have one in MS Excel that lists the characters' names on the vertical axis, and then each year on the horizontal axis.

I highlight cells in a row based on birth/death of the characters, so I can easily look and see what age each person is, and then accurately calculate the differences in their ages.

This is for one novel, which covers the protagonists youth and his adult life (and (spoiler!) death).

cdm said...

This a great idea! I've already succeeded in changing a character's eye colours once - and I'm still on the first book. Definitely something I'm going to do. Thanks!

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Thank you for this post. As always, you give essential advice I wouldn't have thought of on my own.

Also, my husband is just like your wife. How do they do that?

Alleged Author said...

When I write about a character, I type in "woman" or "man" into Google images and find a picture of someone to describe. It sounds really weird, right? It totally works though. I also do it with scenery and buildings. That way I have a jumping off point before I characterize my protagonists! :P

Kristi Helvig said...

Great post! It seems like it would be more difficult if you didn't intend the first book to become a series, but then it turned into one after the fact. Kristin Cashore discussed this with Graceling.

Lucinda said...

Great idea!

I keep mine Microsoft Publisher in the form of a color-coded text boxes. Each character's age at the time of certain events are color highlighted according to the event. I created mine to avoid contradictions and age problems.

Also, maps are great to keep east from west and kingdoms where you say they are located.

Emily Anderson said...

I have a notebook I keep all my info in: character sketches, story maps, drawings, schedules, research notes, everything (I'm kind of an organizational freak). I can't write if my notebook isn't next to me. Even if I don't look at it, I have to know it's there for a quick reference.

Jess said...

"Now I just need one for my real life" - Brilliant! I would have laughed out loud, but my roommate is sleeping... :)

I started something like this when I accidentally used the same name for two minor characters. It helped a lot, but I have always felt like a wuss of writer because I couldn't just remember all of my characters (what kind of a creator AM I?). It makes me feel a lot better to know that I'm not a wuss of a writer because lots of other writers do it, too! PHEW!

Madeleine said...

I HAVE to do this. Thanks for the tip, Nathan.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Hey! Hey! Hoo-Ray! another Tuesday!

-J.S.

Joe said...

I've really been a fan of using TiddlyWiki for my notetaking/Bible-ing:
http://www.tiddlywiki.com/

It's just like an online wiki, but all contained in ONE MAGIC file offline on your computer. Easy to transfer, back up, edit, etc. Ah the modern wonders of javascript!

Liesl said...

Makes me wonder how thick that Series Bible is for Lost. I mean they've got to have like 30 prophets writing that thing.

J.J. Bennett said...

I start with a "series bible" and branch off from there. The important thing to note, is if you change your series bible information you better make note of it! FYI...

Mira said...

This is a good idea.

I'm terrible at both names and faces, so I was actually thinking it might not be a bad idea to do something like this for real life!

So, thanks for the suggestion - I guess I should really thank your wife - so thanks, Nathan's wife for the suggestion, and thanks Nathan for sharing it with us. :)

Anonymous said...

wowzers! Jacob Wonderbar numero 2 already! Much BIC action in progress I see. Such a busy busy person, Nathan. Do you consider yourself an agent or an author first?

Mark said...

One series I liked is The Traveler. Haven't read the conclusion though. I interviewed John Twelve Hawks online, the only place he can be found. Not even his agent knows who he really is. His advice was put as much work into your villains as your protags. That's a keeper. I have a two book series. Completed. It will be a series when the first is published.

George Fripley said...

I spend a lot of time writing short character biographies to make sure I stay consistent, although my descriptions could use much work.

It is often more fun than the story and a goldmine of inspiration - so much so that I now have a draft of a book of such characters - The Dregs of History -which currently has over 50 humorous characters. I

Nathan Bransford said...

Anon-

I probably spend fifty hours or more agenting for every one hour writing so definitely agenting.

clubschaaf said...

Thank you for the timely post. You must hover over my shoulder while I struggle to write and think, "Hmmm, she really needs to..."

Peter Dudley said...

I'm guessing the series bible is easier to build (and perhaps more relevant) after the first book is finished. Or perhaps after the first book first draft is finished. Pretty easy to create as you're going through revision of that first draft. One would think.

Ted Cross said...

I have everything on notecards - one for each character.

Jack Roberts, Annabelle's scribe said...

Sound advice Nathan. Very early on I created my Annabelle Who's Who and Annabelle Timeline. Every idea I get for the series goes in there.
The timeline is an outline for the entire series. All three hundred years, from 1692 AD to the present, is touched on with plot points for my characters and how the main events effect them.

The Who's Who has short bios for all characters including important events.

When things change in the writing and editing, I go back and change those files, too.
It sure helps in the long run.

Vacuum Queen said...

At what point did you know you would be writing Jacob #2? Or, is it already sold? Just curious how that worked.

And, we read my 4 year old son a book from the movie Cars, called "Meet the Cars." In it, there are pictures and paragraph descriptions of each of the cars from the film PLUS another 50 or so cars. Each could have been in the movie but wasn't. I imagine the whole Pixar writing gang sitting around dreaming these characters up and making cuts later. I like to keep my characters and extras in a little file like that just in case I want to use them or need to look back to them. I like to make extras too...just to know about the neighborhood. So I agree that your Bible idea is good.

India Drummond said...

I use a program called Writers Cafe to help me keep this type of info straight. It has characters sheets and a section called a "scrapbook" where you can place photos and text.

Because I'm like you (sometimes can't visualise imaginary people), I go to dating sites, image comparison sites like hot-or-not, facebook, or sometimes just google image search and find pictures of REAL people (not models or actors) that look like my characters. That way, when I need to describe them, I can just look at them.

No one ever sees those photos but me, but it really does help me make the characters more concrete if I can see the little details about their faces and expressions.

Mike French said...

The best books I've read hardly describe their characters looks at all and leave the reader to form an impression based on how the character behaves.

Your wife has it when she says ...

"that is the person who sold me a lollipop when I went to the county fair in 1985 but now they have orange hair."

So best to leave a lot of the details in your series bible out of the novel itself.

Now in real life it would be helpul ! Although people might be offended when you start to look them up in you life series bible -

Hi Nathan

Sorry?

It's John

hang on...
O yes page 23 - ugly looking neigbour from No 42, boring and tedious, divorced 3 times and drinks cocktails at 7 in the morning whilst mowing front lawn ...

Hi John

Rik said...

Hey! A fellow prosopagnosiac.

I've been criticised for not describing my characters' faces in detail, but then when I read such details in other people's writing I end up skimming - I never get a mental image of what the character looks like forming: they're just wasted words to me.

The best test I've found (so far) to see if you suffer face blindness?* Watch an episode of America's Next Top Model and then try to match the photos to the models - I get confused every time they change their hair for the photoshoot.


*Research suggests that 1 in 20 people suffers from prosopagnosia. Scary, huh?

Lynn Viehl said...

It's a good idea to put together a series lexicon, too, especially if you use any coined or colloquial terms. I include in mine how characters' names are spelled and what nicknames I've used for them.

You'll find that in a chronological series with recurring characters you're soon juggling a lot of info, and sometimes naming details and spellings slip off the radar. In mine I have to incorporate at least 50+ individual descriptions, personality traits, backstories, etc. by book three or four, at which point I stop remembering middle names, whose name changed after a marriage, etc.

RR Kovar said...

My very first writing teacher encouraged us to create a profile for each character introduced, no matter how minor, and also to maintain a list of important information about our world - even if it was this world - so we would have the information we needed without having to search for it. I still use both of these along with my version of an outline "stuff that needs to happen". I don't think I could write novels without those tools.

Derrick said...

I've done this. The best part of it is getting all of the back story out of your head and onto paper. That way you won't bore your reader, and yet, you're world has a history. And characters can reference this history without great detail. It makes it all the more real.

Gayle said...

One of the reasons I've started using Scrivener. I wish I'd had it ages ago!

writtenwyrdd said...

I always do the Series Bible thing, which I did not know had a name. They are invaluable when you write stories with complex worldbuilding like speculative fiction generally has.

Steppe said...

N.

knowing you watched "Lost" last night makes this a really relevant post to me.
I hope it doesn't fall apart because I've been very slowly working my way forward from the beginning after having backed up several times to catch up, then moved all the way forward from different season intervals studying the conflict introduction and levels of each characters awareness of the depth of the unfolding; studying what is real by the world builders rules and what is drawn from their (characters) imaginations imagery sets.

I use character studies from real life which is a crutch developed before electronic retrieval. I take so much time developing my equipment and rules that they become burned into my memory.
I live in the world I build, thats part of the draw and brain high for me that makes writing my favorite art form.

I still use a bible for stuff/formulas that are revealed as foreshadowing in a folder called "keypages" also a "keyevents" folder for stuff that must happen as promised earlier to move the plot forward and muddy up each cooperating and competing characters understanding of the depth of trouble they may be in.

Thanks for
checklist:
Sam Hranac (...)
Melissa; dropbox
http://tinyurl.com/y6hbfbz

Also suggestions
New Novelist 2.0
Liquid Story Binder
Personal wiki
http://www.ljcohen.net/resources-wiki.html

My core characters I keep in the same age bracket and supporting cast are younger or older but not stated. People rarely know other peoples ages until friendship occurs.

I'll find a way to book mark this or use acrobat to downlaod.
Great suggestions by everyone.

Dana Fredsti said...

In my current WIP, one of my characters changed eye color within the same page. Written on the same day. I don't think I was drinking at the time... At any rate, that convinced me I needed a series bible and I started one that day.

Matthew Rush said...

Your client Natalie Whipple was talking about character sheets the other day and I was like: Am I the only dork who hears that term and thinks dungeons and dragons?

RR Kovar said...

No, Matthew, you are not. I started making character sheets before I had ever heard of D&D, but I began referring to them as character sketches or snapshots, etc. after I became aware of role playing games.

verification - werbs: words which can be used as verbs, but aren't always. Conversely, what happens when you verb a noun (ex: scrap booking *shudders*)

J. T. Shea said...

Nice picture! The Gothic edition of JACOB WONDERBAR, no doubt?
But JACOB WONDERBAR #2? No, Nathan. JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KERRANG. JACOB WONDERBAR BEYOND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW. JACOB WONDERBAR BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW (WITH APES). THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW STRIKES BACK!
Free corndog with every copy. Although if Amazon still can't bundle paper with E-books there could be problems...

Cheryl said...

Mind maps are great for this.

Jenna said...

Thank you all for the software suggestions! Finally some ones for MAC crept in there... ;)

Blayze Kohime said...

I just have to say this is an even better idea than you thought. Putting out all my character, place, etc into neat little entries like that actually caused me to come up with some new creative ways things could be used and how it all interrelates. I would go so far as to say in the future I might outline a simple world building bible prior to starting to write, then build on it as I do so to make sure everything comes together.

Lilace said...

Great concept, and great advice. I'm just hung up on one thing--why is it a bible? I get that it's sacred info but the Bible contradicts itself and has multiple versions of things. The Bible needed a series bible. This is really a series encyclopedia.

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