Had a snow day, so instead of being productive and writing, I procrastinated and worked on coming up with a way to keep track of story and series details.
I've included snippets from several articles I found online. I hope you’ll find something here that helps you, too.
Creating a Series Bible (Ken Hathaway)
- The overall concept
- Ongoing characters – main, supporting, villains
- The setting
- The rules of the world you’re creating
- Gadgets and gizmos [if any] and how they work
- What CAN’T happen in future storylines
- Series tone
- Series theme
- An opening story
- Story suggestions
Creating a Story Bible: The Basics (RJ Blain)
Find a recording method that works for you.
Your story bible is like an onion. You will build it layer by layer.
Writing down the facts
- Every time you give a character a trait (eye color, personality type, build, skills, and so on) write it down.
- Every time you describe a specific aspect of society, write it down.
- Every time you introduce a religion or important culture tidbit, write it down.
- Every time you introduce a major world event, write it down. (Include the date, what happened, and why it was that important in your ‘Legends and Lore’ type section.
- Every time you introduce something you suspect you will need to refer to again, that is not a plot line or character development element, write it down.
- Your story bible is a place for facts and important information, not for the story of your character’s life or your plot. If you want a journal for that, use a second one. You want facts and tangibles in this journal. This journal is to ensure consistency in your world and facts.
Creating a Story Bible [with a free template] (David Hewson)
His story bible breaks down into four different areas: Management, Characters, Locations and Research.
Easy Tips for Creating a Book or Series Bible (Angelique Armae)
- Gather Supplies
- Included ContentsCharacters
Include all info on a CD and store it in your binder.
How to Keep Track of a Novel (Kay Kenyon)
- Discover and develop story
- Storyboard scenes
- List “beats” of scenes
- At the end of writing day summarize what happened in scenes completed
- Clues dropped
- New characters introduced
- Her main method of keeping track of where she is in the story
- Allows her to pencil in the margins – next to the right scenes – notes for changes that become necessary as the story evolves
- Record every character name, place, piece of technology, special terms, odd spelling
- Update faithfully as you write
A great big box
- All loose-leaf things
- End of day everything goes into box – clean office
A three-ring binder
- Tabs for culture, language, history, religion, technology, flora/fauna, publications/books, politics, dress, military terms, rules of magic or science research points
Create an Editorial Stylesheet
1. A list of important style rules that will be followed throughout the manuscript.
2. The book’s setting – time frame and location on map.
3. A list of the places and street names.
4. A list of all the characters with the correct spellings of their names.
5. Names of any animals in the book.
6. A long list of words whose spellings could be easily mistaken or challenged.
Keeping Your Story on Track with Style Sheets (Marg Gilks)
- File Box
- Index Cards
- Tabbed categories with individual cards
- Notes preliminary details decided on prior to starting the novel as well as details created or discovered during writing
- Chronologies, timelines
- Thumbnail maps
The Story Is in the Details (Margaret Daley)
So how do you keep track of all those details?
You need to keep track of them before you write the book/series, during it and afterwards. There are a lot of ways you can do it. I use charts I've created on Excel as well as a pad of paper I have for the story. Some people use different kinds of software programs that are out there (example: Scrivener). Others use spreadsheets or hard copies of what they need (example: putting the details up on a pegboard or in a notebook).
What do you keep track of? Some of the elements you track are your characters (everything about them from their appearance to goals, conflict and motivation), plot (main and sub plots–all details), setting, point of view, timeline of story, weather, logistics in a scene, questions that need answered in the story, research and anything else pertaining to your story.
Track of Your Characters: How to Write a Story Bible (Kit Frazier)
She keeps two Story Bibles
- One as an extensive Master List
- A shorter one for my Work in Progress
- Keep an open Word document and save as “WIP Story Bible”
- Table of Contents – the reason to make yourself a Story Bible
- Major Characters Heading
- Minor Characters
- Recurring Groups and Organizations
- Settings – Large
- Settings – Small
- For example: magical, physical properties of your world, political systems of government, courtly etiquette.
- Other Resources
- General Histories
- Outside Reference
What Do They Know? Keeping Track of Character Knowledge (Janice Hardy)
Janice uses a spreadsheet to keep track of the following:
- What Do They Know?
- What Do They Think?
- What Are They Wrong About?
- Keeping Track of the Truth
What do you think? Any of these appeal to you? Do you already have a system you care to share with us?
P.S. I apologize for the weird spacing. Blogger hasn't perfected reading my mind.