38 Responses to Building the Series Bible

  1. Harliqueen says:

    I wouldn’t even know where to start planning a series, but it sounds like you have a great plan ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks. The first book is so much fun, but then you have to record every detail properly before you can contemplate writing book 2. I debated waiting until the manuscript was further along but there are so many details, I figured best to capture them now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I don’t have any plans to write a series, though I suppose I should given that’s the more popular thing to do now. I’m not opposed to it–I just don’t have any particular ideas for a recurring character I’d like to write about.

    I’m sure writing in the fantasy realm makes it that much more difficult to keep things consistent. I think some people probably imagine that one just sits at a keyboard and writes a book. But there’s so much other preparation and organization that goes into it. Can take as much–if not more–time than the actual writing itself.

    • I am a big fan of reading series so I always wanted to write them. I think you have to see a series before you even start writing the first book.

      I thought writing paranormal was tough with world building, but fantasy is way way harder. So many things you can mess up. Even within the first book. LOL. There is so much pre-thinking and pre-writing and note taking before I dare to write a word in any new world. Agreed. And then as I revised this manuscript, I decided to delve deeper into the worldbuilding. Eek. I think it’s a better manuscript but a much more complicated world to capture in my series bible.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        You seem to have several projects going on at once. Impressive!

        • I try to switch off between projects. So I don’t burn out in any of my worlds. I have 3 series worlds going right now. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m wrapping up DM with the series bible. Then I wait to hear from the agent and possibly begin querying again this summer. Reckonings is waiting on the editor for revisions. So I may be headed back into Six Train in late May. I also have to create a workshop for July so that may take a couple weeks in May. When I was an auditor, I used to run 3-5 audits simultaneously. Great practice for this!

  3. Ally Bean says:

    I didn’t know any of this. I do not have the desire or mental stamina necessary to write one book– let alone a bible like yours. I can see where what you’re doing is vital, but *yowsa* what an intense thing to do. Best of luck. I’m rooting for you.

    • LOL. It’s funny when you are in your story world it’s so clear, but when you step away for a few months it gets hazy. The bible is my way of keeping track of what I do in each book. Luckily, I’m only at book 1 of each series but I still have to catalog every detail. Formatting and checking chapter references is the dullest part but I have to keep my mind sharp to do it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I got two migraines this week already. Too much brain work. But it’s 60% done!

  4. diannegray says:

    I haven’t written a series, yet. I find that once my characters are on paper and have gone through their journey I like to start on others. I think you’re amazing writing a ‘series bible’ – what a big job! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I think it’s one of those things you sense from the beginning. Before I ever start writing I know it’s going to be a series and have an idea of how many books. I love getting to return to my characters. I don’t think I could stay in one storyworld for an entire year. I need to be able to switch off between my different series. Tracking all the information in book 1 and compiling it into worksheets is well hellish. But it will make make my storyworld more real to me and to readers. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • diannegray says:

        I was writing my novel yesterday and I couldn’t remember some information from the beginning because I started it last year and have been too busy to get back into it. I thought of you and that I should make ‘novel diaries’ so I can quickly access information! ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • The worksheets for characters, places, and concepts are really useful. I highly recommend them, especially if you have to take breaks in the writing process. I usually have cheat sheets as I’m writing but these worksheets really help from book to book.

  5. I love reading a series, Kourtney. I always thought it would be fun to write a series and have a secondary character as a main character. With that being said, yes, I think it would be fun, but in reality, I’m sure it’s extremely difficult with so many details to keep track of. You’re a writing machine!
    Last year I read a YA series, I apologize, but I’m drawing a blank right now as to the name of the author. Anyway, she wrote the first book from the female MC POV and then wrote the second book from the male MC POV. I’d never read a book done that way, it was pretty cool.

    • Yay me too! It is so fun to be able to hang out with your characters again and again. It’s just that the devil is in the details. So many things that must be consistent across books. Upside is writing these worksheets really makes me think through the world building and helps me catch tiny discrepancies. ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s fun when the POV changes from book to book in a series. Very cool!

  6. This was great — I love reading about another writer’s process, and Scrivener is the best. As I rebuild my novel, I’m embracing its many features, and I’m sure I haven’t even scratched the surface. What does DM stand for?

    • Thanks. I just started using it for the worksheets in the series bible. I may try drafting the next manuscript there. I tend to be a big planner off screen so I don’t really see the use of their ability to move sections of the novel around. I also hate the notecard function because I’m trying to limit my time at the computer not blow it up. But it’s awesome that it has so many features because writers have so many ways of getting words on paper. I’m not sharing the name of the new manuscript online. It’s the one you beta read. I’m very protective of titles until I’ve been querying a while. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Makes perfect sense ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you’re querying! Keep you blogging audience up to date on your progress with it. Why not submit it to your current agent?

        • I’m not querying yet. I just sent it to the agent who is helping me with Reckonings because she asked to see it. I am waiting to hear back. After years of submitting, I hope she takes it on, but am prepared to start querying this summer if she doesn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Congrats on conceiving of a series! Personally, world-building scares the crap out of me, though I am being forced to do it right now as my next project kind of announced itself to me as requiring a world. I hope I can have the discipline to figure things out before I write too much, so I don’t end up having to go back and straighten out a mess of my own creation.

  8. Mayumi-H says:

    Thanks for this glimpse into your process, Kourtney. I can see how Scrivener would really help this process.

    I’ve kept notebooks to keep names, places, histories, character traits cohesive, but I’ve never sat down to figure out a bible. Probably because most of my stories tend to be one-offs (if long ones). Good on you for committing to series of your own, though! It sounds like an exciting and helpful process, even for just creating a tighter all-around story.

    Good luck!

    • It’s funny when you puts your characters and setting and concepts into individual worksheets, you look at your storyworld from a new perspective and catch things you didn’t before. Like I had 3 male tertiary characters whose names all began with J and 3 female that began with S. They only appeared in a random chapter here or there so I never noticed the pattern until I saw the character worksheet list and then well, I pulled out my baby name book and made some changes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I also founf world building things that could be strengthened and improved. Things I probably wouldn’t have caught until the next round of revisions since I didn’t see them during the revising process. It’s a really useful exercise, though it did seem to trigger a few migraines this week unfortunately. I finished today-woohoo. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I do the notebook thing too before I start drafting. Just so I have a reference point as I’m going along.


  9. Aquileana says:

    Hi Kourtney ,

    Double challenge here defined by these two characteristics> book series and fantasy genre… Someone has pointed above that fantasy makes things harder to look consistent… However I think that you can take full advantage of it as you have more freedom to set your imagination free. Once you have organized the main nodes of the story plot I guess you’ll enjoy the writing process…Although I recognize that the biggest task is to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit in well together … But you will do it perfectly!

    All the very best . hugs, Aquileana ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think fantasy is so freeing until you have a concrete concept of your world and then you have to make sure things don’t contradict each other accidentally or violent the rules without reason. The tricky part is that as I made a tiny tweak here or a quick fix there for a character arc, I sometimes violated the underlying world rules. As I was working on the bible. I found a few minor world building glitches that only caused an issue if you really stopped and thought about how it all worked and how things were supposed to impact each other. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 4amWriter says:

    Sounds like a tremendous amount of work. I have never heard of a series bible, but it sounds like a wonderful tool.

    • It was too much for my brain. I ended up with 4 migraines in 6 days. Not a good week. But the bible is done. It’s really helpful as you write further into the series. By the time you are on book 4, you forget the details of book 2. Unless you have a series bible to flip open and check. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. jmmcdowell says:

    I’ve thought that SATC and DOOT would each have at least one follow up book, if not more, and Meghan Bode could anchor a series of mysteries. I tend to keep good notes in Excel spreadsheets, just to keep everything straight in my mind, but I should probably transition those to Scrivener with the manuscript files…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I guess I haven’t done a “bible” per se, but the concept definitely makes sense for a series. Keeping all those details straight for one book can be hard enough!

    • I think it’s cool to use whatever tool works best for you. Some authors even have a three ring binder with notebook paper. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the Scrivener worksheets for building a series bible because I can add to them with each successive book.

      I waited until Six Train was published to do the bible because every edit will tweak the bible too. But with DM, the world building and concepts really require a bible as I am revising. Especially in fantasy. One minor tweak can unravel all the worldbuilding–no pressure or anything. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. This sounds like dedication and requiring lots of ability to remember whose who and where and what etc .. ๐Ÿ™‚ Rather you than me I think… But maybe that’s why I have never attempted a Book.. ๐Ÿ™‚ xxx

    • It definitely does. ๐Ÿ™‚ On days when I’m working on the series bible I’m pretty incoherent. All my brain power is going to working through the worldbuilding and finding glitches. LOL. Yeah, it’s a lot to be master of an entire story world. let alone 3 distinct storyworlds. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Nice to learn more about your writing process, Kourtney!

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