Facts and nothing but the facts
A story bible has one purpose to record the facts you’ll need to be consistent. It is a reference book and nothing more.
There are as many ways as there are writers. Some methods are: Binders (virtual and hardcopy), using color codes, tabs, and table of contents. Either a grid or mind map with (color coded) links. It doesn’t matter how the information is collected or stored. What does matter is the data is organized in such a way you can find it when you want it.
Here’s a worksheet from Writer’s Digest for a series to get you started.
Bellow you will find four sections that are recommended for all story bibles: They include World Building, Characters, Objects, + Research.
Here are some examples:
- The world rules
- Planets, continents, countries, cities, setting locations
- Weather or Climate
- Ruling governments, monarchy, or church
- Rebels/outlaws/terrorist groups/most wanted
- Treaties/trade information
- Magic systems
- Creature information
- Religion, spiritualism
- Legend and lore
- Science and technology
- Common transportation
- Common communication
- Possible Fads
There is more than just what they look like. To keep it simple a grid can track the cast of characters and is a quick reference—think multiplication table.
Grids can also track:
- Relationships between characters (not all feelings are reciprocated)
- Skills and flaws
- Belief System and culture
Some things are better noted as a summary:
- Character’s bio
- Memories/baggage/backstory that strongly influence your character
- Deep reactions to a place, object, or person
- Possible character arcs
- Relationships (not captured in one word) between all characters that drives the story to the inevitable end
There are some objects that will be tracked within the work. It can be as simple as the main character’s necklace, a fantasy’s magical weapon, or a clue in a mystery. Whatever it might be needs a quick note.
In my case, it was a purse that suddenly disappeared. Not too good because all her clues were inside.
Anything you’ve collected and need to cite to bring your story to life
Every story varies and because I’m basically lazy, I always take the easiest path. I only make notes as the story happens with a quick copy paste to my virtual binder. I’m sure there are some other methods that keep a person just as organized.
What do you think? Is there anything else I should add?