I’ve been wanting to create a series “bible” for awhile now, as I’d like to extend my current WIP into a series. Since my draft will be going out to alpha readers at the end of the month, now is the perfect time to re-read with a new purpose: mining the novel for story elements that can be carried forward.
Along with my WIP, I am very excited about a plot bunny I’m developing for this year’s NaNoWriMo in November. I’ve begun pre-writing tasks, but would love to allow myself some extra room for later, when I’ve really dug into drafting and would like to add to my character development, conflict, worldbuilding, overarching concepts.
And I’ve been struggling with how to do both of these within my usual Travelers Notebook framework, and still keep the information organized and quick to access. Yes, I could develop a detailed index, or… I could go the ring-route.
Down yet another rabbit-hole in the bullet journaling world, to be sure. I researched Filofaxes and although I felt the pull (as I have with the Leuchtturm 1917), I resisted primarily due to price. I do not have extra cash to spend on another type of journal, and knew I couldn’t justify the expense to my husband at all.
Then I remembered that back in the day, I was given a Franklin (Covey) Planner. A very nice one. One that I never threw away because it was so nice. Due to moving recently, I even knew where it was. I pulled it off my bookshelf and discovered that although I hadn’t used it since 1999 (Wow… how am I even that old??), it was in pristine condition, waiting to re-discover its purpose in life.
I have re-purposed this beauty into my story/series bible for both of my current projects – there is enough room to handle both, at least for now! I purchased a 7 ring hole punch, and purchased a ream of 28lb. 8 ½ x 11” paper (about $14), having it cut into half size (about $4) to use for my own purposes. And thanks to the resurgence of the Filofax, there are plenty of free printables available, which I can re-size should the need arise.
I have decided to use top-tabs (made from scrap cardstock) to identify each WIP and my BuJo section. Each WIP has four categories identified by side-tabs: Character, Setting, Conflict, and Concept.
Character: Under my character tab in each, I will have an in-depth character sketch and profile for each major character. Secondary characters will get a paragraph, and tertiary characters will be included in a list. If I decide to add a character later in the series or novel, I can plop a new profile or paragraph in, because rings…
Setting: This is where I will have my worldbuilding resources for my current WIP, and notes about my setting for my series. I have re-sized and printed some maps for this section, and included sub-sections for Geography, Cultures, Social Classes, History, and Technology. This will also include a Scene Setting List which will describe every scene in the novel. Again, when a new scene is written in a new setting, I can add it here easily because… RINGS!
Conflict: Here, I can write my synopsis, outline my plot, draw out the story arc(s), and include a diagram of my plot structure to make sure I’m following it as I write. I can jot down beats as they come to me, to be turned into scenes later. I can map out my subplots to make sure the tension follows the arcs.
Concept: In this section, I can keep track of themes and motifs, small and large. I can jot down questions that arise and check them off as they are answered in the story.
And Don’t Forget The BuJo in the Bible: The most important tab of all – The BuJo tab, which keeps me on task, and keeps me using my writing routine to get this done. I’ve made it my goal to increase my efficiency by leaving myself what I call breadcrumbs – clues to myself about what needs to be done next – when I finish my writing tasks for the day. This allows me to pick up right where I left off, and helps me settle into writing quicker. I can also keep track of word count and self-imposed deadlines here.
In my next post, I will share some of the content I’m using to help corral my thoughts, and layouts I’m creating to keep everything organized. Have you started a story or series bible? Let us know how it’s working for you in the comments!