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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Starting Over

I just put away the novel that I've been working on for over a year. I had to do it. I'm going to have to restart it from the beginning to fix some issues that were making the ending unwieldy. So, while that novel is "resting", I'm going to start a brand new novel.

This time, I'm going to keep my story bible current.

You know what a story bible is, right? It's a collection of relevant info that you need easy access to. For example, there should be a list of character names, especially minor characters, so you're not calling the best friend's husband Bob in chapter two and then Henry in chapter fifteen.

Story bibles are vital for multi-book stories and speculative fiction. These are the keepers of timelines as well as rules of the land. I keep world maps and alternative calendars, too.

My problem is I only think of my story bible when I need the information. So, that info is rarely in the bible. I have to hunt it down in the text, and only then do I add it to the bible. Let's just say that can be a bit time consuming.

So, this time I'm going to keep a file on the world, and I'm going to add things like place descriptions as they come up. Of course I say I'm going to do this every time, so perhaps I need some sort of plan. Like one day a week I spend just updating the story bible. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Do you keep a story bible for all your works? How do you update it?


Karen Baldwin said...

I Love this concept. I am so guilty of not remembering small details like the color of one character's hair or eyes. I am definitely going to keep a story bible from now on. Thanks for posting this!

Janie Junebug said...

I've never kept a story bible. Maybe that's why I never finish a novel. It's an excellent plan.


Nicola said...

Great idea! I'll have to start something similar and get organised. Thanks for sharing.

mshatch said...

I usually start out with two files for my current work in progress. One is the story itself. The other is like what you're talking about. Characters, places, names, backstory (as I learn it), and my chapter by chapter outline, which usually gets written as I write the chapters. I can't imagine not having that second file and I usually have them both open at once.

Liz A. said...

I'm surprised more haven't heard of this. I'm glad I could be helpful.

mshatch, I keep the file, but I don't always have it open. That's the main thing I want to fix.

Lidy said...

I keep a story bible but I call it dossiers. I keep a main folder for my works and each one have multiple sub folders with all the information necessary. If my character's favorite ice cream is pistachio, it's in there. Even have character interview documents to learn more about them, their history, their fears, etc. I also have story boards on Pinterest that I use like a bible too filled with images of places, people I'm using as character description inspirations, articles, etc. One of my works, a fantasy that I'm taking off of hiatus for NaNoWriMo, even has a glossary of terms. But like all my story bibles/dossiers they serve as an encyclopedia that I can go back to for confirmation and consistency about anything related to the story.

Unknown said...

I have never heard of story bible but I love the idea. Thank you.

Liz A. said...

Lidy, whatever you call it, it sounds like yours is much more detailed than mine. Thanks for the description.

Kathleen, I'm surprised more haven't heard of it. Glad this post was useful.

Darla M Sands said...

Neat idea. Thanks!

baili said...

some times it happens that new idea suddenly leap out in mind and we give break to running work and start new immediately .
best of luck for your new start

LD Masterson said...

I've tried lots of ways to keep track of my story elements, some more successful than others. This time I'm going to try Scrivener. I've got it installed and studied the tutorials - now we'll see if I can use it effectively.

Best of luck on your fresh start.

Patsy said...

I don't keep many notes when writing a novel - just an outline really. Like you, I'd forget to update anything more detailed, so it might not help me much.