Saturday at the monthly Heart of Carolina Romance Writers' meeting, some of our published authors talked about tips for writing a series. Since my current work in progress is being written with the intention of making it into a trilogy (at the very least), I was extremely interested in what they had to say. One of the things they mentioned that stuck with me was that every writer needs to make a 'series bible'.
What exactly is that? Well, it's a notebook or a file or a folder where you keep all the important information on the series. Stuff you'll need to remember in order to write the subsequent books. Character biographies and descriptions. Photo inspiration. Floor plans of the houses. A timeline of events, birthdays, etc. Secondary characters and their role in the book. If something is true in book one, it still has to be true in book two. That means that if a minor character's wife died in book one, you can't suddenly have her alive and well in book two - unless you explain it somehow!
The same is true for eye color, past events, locations, descriptions, etc. Even down to the color of the couch in the living room of a certain character. For my books, the magic system is going to be important. It's not something I'm likely to forget, but I want to make sure that I stay consistent. A quick reference sheet on the magic system will make remembering a lot easier. I'd rather flip through a notebook than have to read the entire book again when I'm on a deadline (God willing).
Maybe it's wishful thinking to start a series bible, but I did exactly that yesterday. I printed out pictures of actors who will serve as inspiration for my characters. Here are some of the things I believe will be important to include in my series bible:
- Character descriptions, biographies, and photo inspiration. How each character's magic works and what their character arc is going to be both in each book and in the entire series
- Plot outline for each book
- Zombie information (such as what they look like, how they sound, how they move, whether their bite is going to turn you into a zombie, etc.)
- Magic system rules (how does their magic work? Who has what abilities? Good vs. Evil)
- Details on the guns and other weapons used. If Crash is using an AK-47, I want to have a picture of one and understand the ammo. I want to know how heavy it is and whether you could attach a strap and sling it over your back.
- Rules and descriptions of the Otherworld.