Building a Story Bible

If you’re writing, you need a story bible.  It’s basically a one place catch-all for every little nit-pick that your writing about.  If you are planning a series, you have to have one.

Here’s my tabs for Characters in the story for Demise’s Desire,  and Death’s Lover, the Queen of the Underworld books 1 and 2 in Scrivner

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That’s a lot of characters to keep track of!

Here is one character, the female MC, and her breakdown.

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I love Scrivner because it allows me photos.  Here is Demise’s breakdown.  It will change as the story does.  The basic summary should include everything you can think of; age, weight, height, sex,  where they are from, where are they now, education and their current occupation, any odd mannerisms, how they dress,  pets, etc.

For characters, you might color coat the tabs for MC’s, protagonist, etc.  Also, for Fantasy writers include special powers of the characters, (use a wand? mind-read? Their cultural differences? Are they human? etc)  Do they use different words?  Keep track of those!

The setting.  If your characters are in a house/apartment, jot down a quick floorplan.  Why?  Because if you can see where your characters are going, so can your readers. Have a real idea of the setting, include photos, check the high and low temps, any odd item that might stick out… ie thunderstorms every afternoon, ocean breezes, flowers that bloom, etc.  If you have a real-world setting, use google maps and take a walk through.

Fantasy worlds should have a map and include everything above, including moons, suns, sky color, flowers, other inhabitants, etc. No, you don’t have to publish your drawings, but it might help the fantasy reader orientate themselves.    I use http://rickriordan.com/extra/map-of-the-underworld/  It’s an interactive Map and really useful.  I did change a couple of things for my own purposes, but you can see the map.3 parts of the underworld by Rick Riordan

Setting sketch should include the following for each place.

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There’s a whole lot more to a character bible but the basics are the same.  Keep track of what you have along with what you’ve written and you’ll know where you’re going and so will your readers.

But the most important aspect of a character bible is to save the writer TIME… yep.  Instead of going back and re-reading sections for minor characters, in their character sketch place the page numbers that they appear with a sentence or two *I copy and paste stuff right out of my doc* so if later you need to refresh your memory, you don’t need to hunt for it.

Timeline is next. There is a lot of software for timelines.  Pick one or jot down your own.  Why?  Because if your MC spent July doing something, then six months later you revisit them, don’t have them in the summer… It’s January…

2 thoughts on “Building a Story Bible

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