I’ve mentioned many times in the past that writers create a lot of extraneous stuff while writing a book. Two of the things, I’ve realized most readers don’t know about are book bbles and series bibles. I’ve heard them called other things, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the synonyms for them right now. A series bible is essential if you write a series – it provides a place where you can quickly look at all the information contained within the books of your series.
Both a book bible is a collection of writer files. A series bible is a collection of book bibles that pertains to a single series; so if I was good at keeping up with my book bibles and series bibles; the Dreams and Reality series bible would have the book bibles from all 17 published books, plus the 2 written but not yet published books, and the bibles for the books that are in the works.
A book bible should contain the following information:
- an outline if one was created
- a timeline if one was created (for short books that take place over a few days, I never make a story timeline although sometimes I think I should), but for some books that span a long time, they are essential as are character timelines for immortal or paranormal characters)
- character sketches for every character in the book (major and minor is recommended, but a lot of authors skip them for really minor or disposable characters),
- place profiles (where is everything taking place? City, neighborhood, country, etc)
- Subplot information (many writers create full outlines for subplots just like they do for their main plots)
A series bible allows a writer to have all the information from each book bible at their fingertips. Now, in the mid-2000s when I created the series bible for Dreams and Reality I used Word, because I didn’t know organizational programs for writers existed. For the record, I find Word cumbersome and difficult to use for Series Bibles. It can be done using the header functions, but an organizational software program like Plottr is much easier. However, when my Asus laptop died in 2014 without warning, my series bibles for D&R and The Dysfunctional Chronicles were lost (I didn’t have backups).
Krissy Smith and I have been working on recreating my lost series bibles. And with the introduction to Plottr, it’s become much easier. They won’t be as good as my originals, but they’ll be better than nothing. In the week, I’ve been working on them, I’ve gotten a lot of information restored to them. I’ve focused on the main plots when I can remember them, any subplots I might remember, character sketches, and place profiles. Since, D&R takes place in a dystopian world, place profiles can be exceptionally important for me. For example book 21 or 22 sees the SCTU in Juarez, Mexico serial killer capital of the world, but in 2015 I released a mutated version of Bubonic Plague in Dallas, Texas and the two are close enough that it should have had an impact on Juarez, Mexico and I needed to ensure the information on the mutated Yersinia. Pestis as well as the spread was available to me while writing my book set in Mexico. This means the place profile for Dallas is very broad, but I also needed place profiles were much smaller areas such as The Federal Guard Neighborhood, the Federal Guard Apartments, and The Fortress.
I took a bunch of screenshots from Plottr to allow you all to see the visuals of what I’m working with both in regards to the series bible and the book bible. With each new book in the series bible comes an increase in character sketches and place profiles (if needed – I don’t do one for every place, usually just the important places). One screen shot is the “main plot” page from the Tortured Dreams book bible.
And as you can see, Plottr allows me to upload book covers for the books that have them. If I need information (like the character sketches I’ve been releasing in Premium Content posts from the Nephilim Narratives) printed or in another useable format, I can export all of it to a Word doc. I can then upload the character sketch word docs to my writing program and have those listed on the side as I write a book if I want, even though the information is in Plottr and not my writing program.