Waddup Savi Crew!
Apologies for the uber late post (it’s been that kind of week apparently) and as a matter of fact, I almost didn’t so I guess late post is better than no post. As promised, I’m gonna talk about my preparations for Camp Nano this year. And I know what some of you are thinking: “Didn’t she have a Character / Setting / Plot series going on?” Why, yes I did and if you any of missed those, feel free to check them out (after reading this one, of course lolz).
The rest of you are probably thinking: “Why didn’t she start these Nano Prep blogs at the beginning of March like regular aspiring writers?” Well, as of last week Thursday I had no intention of participating in Camp Nano this year. So these prep blogs are as much a surprise to me as it is to you guys.
Nephew is turning 1 on April 2nd and I’m betting that my sister has something planned for that milestone. Not to mention, I’m working now (was unemployed this time last year) so I’ll need to factor in working hours where I never had to before. All these things chip away at my writing time so I figured, maybe take a break this year. There’s always Camp Nano in July and of course—the OG—regular Nano in November. Lots of opportunities to get my writing mojo back.
So what gives? What’s with the sudden change of heart? I’m so glad you asked! Well, blame it on Kate Cavanaugh. She’s a YouTuber and fellow Authortube cabin mate (for both April and July Camp Nanos last year.
Anyway, she had a YT video talking about her Camp Nano prep and what she will be working on. By the time the video ended, I was halfway through updating my Camp Nano profile with my 2019 WIP. Damn that YouTube rabbithole!
So because I’ve already committed and will most likely be drafted into a cabin soon, there’s no going back now. I’m stuck. What can I say? Challenge accepted.
With all that context out of the way, onto the subject at hand. Series bible. What the heck is it? And do you need it? If you’re writing a series—like me—then the answer to the second question is a resounding YES! A series bible can help keep all your information in one place where it can be easily referenced instead of, oh I don’t know, maybe having to read your novel all over again. Even if you do, chances are you’ll probably still miss some stuff.
Your series bible information will vary depending on your genre. It can be simple, detailed or even complex. You can fill out your series bible as the series progresses, before you pen a single novel or—and this is not recommended at all—after you’ve finished the last book. Whatever you choose—for the love of God not the last one, please—personalise your bible to your preferences and style. After all, you’re the one who’s gonna be using it.
You can store your series bible in Word, Google Docs or Scrivener. Or—in my case—all three (writers are a paranoid bunch, aren’t they?) and it’s a delightful dumping ground for all my brainstorming ideas. So, let’s dig into the series bible for my WIP, which is the sequel to my YA anime-inspired fantasy, Keiji novels.
1 | Synopsis – Outline / Breakdown of each of the novels in the series. This is important as it enables an overarching thread that can be followed through each of the books. The last thing you want is to finish a series and realise there’s unresolved issues and unanswered questions, or worse, plot holes the size of Mount Everest. Yikes!
2 | Settings – All the areas of my world: North, South, East and West. There are maps, travel time and distance, calendar (since I use a timeline to keep my dates in order), history (my races have past issues with each other which will come up in the current story), language, religion, government, climate, festivals, etc. Basically any main areas of interest where your story would take place. You get the picture.
3 | Primary Characters – These characters should be fleshed out as though they’re real people. Don’t skimp on the details here. I have avatars, basic info, personality profiles, skills / abilities (my races practise martials arts and some even have magic).
4 | Secondary Characters – Not as important as the primary characters and they don’t need super detailed profiles—just enough to get an understanding of them and their effect on the main character(s). But don’t make them flat, 2D or archetypal. They need to feel as though they are the star of their own stories and not just planets that revolve around the main character(s).
5 | Tertiary / Other Characters – Not as important as the secondary characters and you can probably get away with creating flat, 2D or archetypal characters here. We don’t really care to learn the background for the coffee shop owner where our main character gets her cup of Java every morning. Unless that key information in the background is integral to the plot and affects our main character. Heck, we don’t even need to know his name. Haven’t you ever seen end credits with “Girl #3” or “Coffee Waitress”, those are tertiary characters! We need them but don’t really need to know about them. Get it?
6 | Fantasy Races – Because I’m writing a fantasy, I have characters that aren’t human. Therefore I’ll need a breakdown of the different races so I can keep track of things like their basic culture, notable customs, gender roles, etc. Every race is distinct so this section helps ensure that I keep them consistent throughout the series. If a race is typically docile but suddenly in book 3 they’re hostile, readers won’t buy it, unless there’s an underlying reason for this adverse reaction (apart from the fact that you forgot). This category can also work for science fiction.
7 | Magic Systems – Magic plays a huge role in my fantasy novel. It’s used as a political tactic and even practised as a form of picking the government. Thus I needed this section in my bible. Here I have the history of where my magic came from, levels of magic (all magic is not the same and levels depend on many different things), rules of magic (is your magic hard or soft), types of magic (different races have different types of magic), how magic works (again, each race has a different type and the mechanics of each races’ magic works differently). If your book doesn’t have magic, rejoice, this section’s not for you. If you’re writing sci-fi, then this might be replaced with technology (in which case the sub-categories can also work).
I have other categories as well but you get the idea and, depending on your genre, may not be relevant to your story.
Anyways, I’m rambling again which means it’s time to sign off… Toodles for now. And remember, no matter where you live, take a little time to enjoy the island life! Happy Writing!