Book Companion

 *In Progress*

A 'Story Bible' is sometimes called a 'Series Bible', but what is it exactly?

When a writer starts a story that grows bigger than just one book it's easy to lose track of certain details, usually the simple ones. The series bible is a folder/journal which stores information about the books, such as: places, characters, realms and research, etc. Normally, these are not seen by the readers/public, but I thought it'd be a lovely idea to share some of my pages with now, you must be aware of how much I love to share. :o )

Some people create their story bible as they write, some after they've finished. Many like to have their story bible created and ready before they begin writing. I'm one of those plotter types - mostly everything is worked out prior to writing, of course, things can change, but most ideas are scribbled down on scraps of paper prior to 'officially' recording. 

My 'Bible Companion' is a compendium of all things relating to 'A Carpet of Purple Flowers' (#ACoPF). Such as: Backstories of characters, in-depth character analysis in the form of lists, from shoes to furnishings, scars, how they like to wear their hair, etc. With each Order, every detail is recorded from symbols relating to that sect and why they use it, to clothing worn, and how that Order began. I don't add all of these details to the books, but they're areas that I need to know to write informatively about their worlds/perspective. I even created a journal in which one of my characters records their experiences. It helps me understand the characters thought process and gives me different angles to write from. I've shared some of the pages on the FAN ART section.

Pinterest has been a wonderful resource for providing a visual companion, links are HERE.

Below are a few links for 'Creating a Story Bible', something to keep you busy while this page is under construction. Have fun :o) 

  • How to write shop HERE
  • Hollow lands (using a program) HERE
  • David Hewson HERE
  • Michelle Schusterman HERE

A few days ago, while searching the internet to see if any other writers build a world 'outside' of the story, I came across - ' Kami Garcia's' video. 

Enjoy :o)

I always use imagery in conjunction with my writing (can you tell? Tee hee), and on seeing Kami's video, I just had to share it with you. 

I keep all of my storyboards on Pinterest HERE 

(Warning - it's addictive! Please don't get lost. :o) )

#ACoPF ~ 'A Carpet of Purple Flowers' Series

'Book Bible'

Organising handwritten notes for book two 'Awake in Purple Dreams' & 'Book Bible' pages in the kitchen.
All of the images below (in book bible) are for inspirational/personal use only.)
As I'm a very visual person, I tend to use quite a lot of images in my book bible. ACoPF plays out as a film in my mind so it makes sense to try and capture the imagery that relates to what my minds-eye sees. Sometimes it's just a section of a picture that resembles a piece of the story, but having the visual reference is important. Hence my addiction to Pinterest Story Boards. ;o) I will add more pages soon, but obviously I'm unable to share most of the 'bible' notes with you as would be BIG spoilers. Further down the page is information on creating your own book bible. Have fun, love & light, Trace. :o) 

Creating a Book Bible

Make an index-styled sheet with the following sections labelled:
Special Powers
Fill out basic information for each section, usually a line or two or a list of names, items, etc. This makes for easy finding later, especially if an item or character is cross-referenced between sections.

Start with a list of characters typed on a single page divided into main characters and secondary characters.
Give each character his/her own page detailing physical traits, internal/eternal conflicts, secrets, goals, family background – basically anything and everything important to that particular character.
Main characters (name, nickname, love interest, height, hair/eye colour, body type, personality basics, job, quirks, food (faves, hates, allergies...), vehicle, important stuff).
Minor characters (books they show up in, job, connection to main characters, significant other, physical description, personality basics, important stuff).
Just include what you’ve mentioned in the book. That means you won’t have eye colour for some characters, or you might have hair length but no colour. You might have no physical description at all.
Every time a character reveals a bit of him or herself to you while you write, click over on your series bible.

Whether you’re writing a contemporary, historical or paranormal novel, you need to create a world. All this info goes in its own section labelled ‘WORLD’.
Here you should include a page for SETTING – time of year, place, type of house or office, etc. 
A page or section for RULES/CUSTOMS – rules, customs, laws of your world (this is especially important for historical and paranormal). You can also include special stipulations here, like terms of a will, inheritance, etc.
Locations (building name, type of business, owners, moose (you'll have to read the series to find out about that one!), location in town, exterior description, interior description). Recurring Places.

RELIGION/SPECIAL POWERS/WEAPONS/TRANSPORTATION – each of these categories get their own section in my book bible within the WORLD section. This usually applies to my paranormal works, but if you’re writing historical novels, you can also include a section on Weapons, Carriages/Horses/Transportation, etc. and include any images and research info you might need to check facts later on. You should also list any characters that these specifics pertain to.
 “Rules” in your fantasy or futuristic world, etc. You can colour code it so you know when each power, rule, or whatever was introduced.

CLOTHING/ACCESSORIES – Include fabrics and styles of times you set my books, fashions of paranormal worlds, including any special jewellery/items that have magical powers. For contemporary novels a list of trends can be included here or items that are specific to your characters – example: I have one character who loves his Trilby Hat (Book Two)
You can also use this section (ACCESSORIES) if you have an item that cross-references with a special power or an historical object necessary to your book such as a stolen necklace, a magical container, etc. If you do it this way, make a note where the item cross references with another section such as SPECIAL POWERS/WEAPONS, etc. and vice versa.
Quick reference research links and images are added here as well. 

Some writers go nuts with time lining, others get a headache just thinking about it. If you’re one of the latter, no worries – this can be very minimalist. Just take note of how long (in days, weeks, months, or years) each book is, along with any other important detail. 

Book 1: Six weeks, starting the last week of summer break on a Monday
Book 2: Three and a half, including Halloween, starting on a Tuesday (four days after book 1 ends) 
Book 3: Five weeks and two days, starting the day after Thanksgiving and a week after book 2 ends

Info dump away! Get it all out here – how the main character’s parents met, how the new system of government came into being, why the land was divided this way, what happened at Kevin’s party two weeks before school started, why freckles don’t exist anymore…write it down. All of it.
Extra tip for WORLD section – you might also want to include a hierarchy of characters/leaders if your SETTING is in a made up world or deals with non-human or special powers characters. This list can be included in specific sections such as Religion, Special Powers, or its own section if you have an organization/brotherhood/special club, etc. in your book.

A list of RESEARCH links, books, websites, and special information needed for your book.

This section is great for paranormal, fantasy or historical novels where you use made up languages/words, need reference to time period specific words/meanings or if a word or slang is specific to a contemporary culture/region, etc. Also great for: a list of legal words if you’re writing a legal thriller, political terms for political thriller, foreign words with meanings, etc. Basically, any words that aren’t everyday words can go here. The goal to creating a book bible is to make reference easy.
Extra tip – Include all info on a CD and store it in your binder. There’s no such thing as too many backup copies, plus if you’re someone who works better on the computer for accessing info than looking it up in print, you’ll have a handy reference. Just make sure to save each section in its own folder for easy indexing.
It does take a bit of time to set it up - and it's SO much easier if you remember to add information to it as you're drafting.

IDEA: Assign colours
Each book gets a colour. This will look weird in the beginning, since pretty much everything will be one colour as you work on the first book, but it’ll work out later. Example:
Book 1, Book 2, Book 3
Keep this as a key at the top of the bible.
You can work on the Series Bible when at proof-reading stage of a manuscript’s life cycle. Because up until the proof-reading stage, everything is still in flux and the little details might change. Writers have enough trouble keeping up with all of the edits on the actual manuscript without having to go back and revise Series Bible along the way. Jot down notes on worksheets by hand while reading the proofs. Later on, enter all of this information into a series of tables in Word.

Writing Down the Facts:
Every time you give a character a trait (eye colour, 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 tit-bit, 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.

Source ~ HERE

A Writer's Companion

At the end of 2014, I discovered 'Outlander' (and Jamie Fraser ;o) ) by Diana Gabaldon. 

I resonated with the author's thirst for knowledge and the way in which she deepens her a story by blending folklore and fact. A woman after my own heart. :o) 

Diana released a companion  for her saga, and yes I got really excited (the nerd in me), which shows the wonderful display of layers used to compile the saga, and, of course, the large tome immediately found a home in my bookcase. :o) 

There can be so much information/research behind books that are not known to the reader. This information is usually left out as not relevant to the immediate story. This opens the idea of a published 'compendium', which I love, providing the reader with all of information/background, also providing a brief look into how the writer's mind ticks.   

Another book, a type of companion is ~

'The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth' 

by Greg Harvey. 

I adore this gathering of information, explaining in depth the complexity of Middle-earth. A great read.