Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Creating a Series Bible

Posted by: Deborah A Bailey

As the year comes to an end, I've been thinking about cleaning up my files and organizing my story drafts. One thing that is extremely helpful is to create a way to capture the information about your book series.

What is a series bible?

It's a compilation of details about your book series. TV shows have them too so they can keep track of facts during the various seasons of the show. 

How can you keep your information organized?

A series bible can be written in a notebook, a journal, loose pages, Scrivener, etc. It can be online in a folder on your laptop, your mobile device or wherever you organize your information. There is no wrong way to do it.

I've used various tools to help me to conceptualize my books. Being a visual person, I often use a "mood board" to include images that set the mood for my stories. Marketers and designers use mood boards for projects.

You can also use Pinterest boards to pin images that inspire you (or use them to pin your book covers directly from Amazon). I have boards for my book series (such as Hathor Legacy and Once Upon A Princess). Pinterest allows private boards as well, so that's an option if you want to use one for collecting images for your WIP.

You can always keep adding to it

Your series bible is a work in progress. You can also use it to help plan out your series. The important thing is it's there to help you keep track of your information. It can be used in the way that works for you.

What about organizing information for a single book?

I've used mind mapping software to keep track of what a character is doing in a chapter. You can do that for one book or for your entire series.

Often there are free trials, so you don't have to buy any software until you know you want to make the investment. If you're not into mind maps, there are also productivity software platforms like Evernote and Trello.

Excel is another good tool for tracking. Cells can be expanded to include your information. Colors can be used to indicate different sections and items. Additional sheets can be added to the Workbook so you can track individual components of your book.

If you don’t have Microsoft, Google has similar software on Google Drive that you can access using a Google account. (And of course, there's similar software specifically for Macs.)

What do you keep track of?

You want to track characters, settings, locations, plot points, etc. - everything you need to refer to in order to build your story (or stories).

Since I use my laptop for writing, I capture my information using Word. I create a folder where I keep my story drafts and then refer to that when I'm mentioning a character or location.

For longer series, you may want to use a spreadsheet seeing how there will be many more items to track. 

You could also record notes using audio or use video if you prefer. There's audio software you can use with your mobile devices and your computer (some might also be included with your original software).

Looking for video clips or images for inspiration? Check out Unsplash.com and Pexels.com which are royalty-free image platforms.

I don't think there are any "wrong" ways to organize your information. The bottom line is that you track everything.

One more thing - be sure to back up your information! I use Dropbox.com that also connects to Word, so I can save documents on my computer and on Dropbox. Or you can use an external hard drive if you prefer. Saving your information is key because a series may go for years, and you don't want to lose any of the items you've collected.

Start organizing your work so that when you begin new writing projects, you'll have a system in place. 


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