Today’s post will focus on what a writer’s bible is and what information should go into it. Also known as a story bible or a master file, it’s a place, such as a folder, where you keep track of everything that happens in or underlies your book.
Personally, I prefer to create a digital folder for the book I’m working on and then create sub folders.
Below are the sub-folders I normally create:
- Characters – For each character I try to answer some basic questions (for more information please view my character sheets) to understand who they are, what motivates them and how they will behave in a given situation. I also like to include photos of actors and other famous people that resemble the way my characters look in my head.
- Locations – Similarly to characters, I include information and pictures of locations featured in my book (for in-depth detail on how to create location files please look at the two previous posts I’ve done 1, 2).
- Synopsis & timelines – Most often when starting a synopsis I know how my story starts and how it ends, but the middle is less clear. Accordingly, I usually start my synopsis at the end so I can figure out what needs to happen in the middle, in order to make the events at the end plausible and logical. It also helps me realize what events need to be more foreshadowed.
Chapter Summaries – Building on the synopsis of a story I create a document that features a chapter-by-chapter summary of my novel. I use bullet points to outline the chapters. By plotting out what happens in each chapter, I can ensure that the story moves in a nice flow, that tension filled scenes are followed by quiet ones. Finally, summaries are helpful to ensure a character or story line is not excluded for several chapters, risking that the reader will forget or lose interest.
- Other – Since I write in the fantasy genre I also have several files that explain the world setting. One of them specifies the powers of my characters, as well as their weaknesses. The other explains how certain things work in my universe. For example, does the human government know about the super naturals? If so, what is their relationship?
Overall, I use my writer’s bible to stay on track with my novel, to keep motivated, and to write in a logical, concise and exciting/tension filled way. A writer’s bible becomes especially important when you write in the fantasy genre or are working on a book series, since it ensures that you write in a consistent manner.