Series Bible - a reference tool where the writer puts EVERYTHING about their story into. It can be a physical folder or electronic.
At some point in the past, I bought a massive red binder and an A4 notepad: I worked in it for several months and then ignored it for several years. I pulled it out the other day because I needed to remember some tiny detail - the whole point of the bible. I knew it wasn’t serving its purpose anymore.
I’m an old-fashioned girl, I always write with pen and paper first. Always. That’s the reason I started with a paper Series Bible but now it seems to be too much: too much paper, too much space, too much hassle.
I turned to Google, “worldbuilding tools for writers” and there are a lot of different options out there.
I opened a half-dozen tabs and started reading. A lot of them were too flashy for me - originally they snared me but then my practical brain kicked in and said nope. I kept coming back to one particular tab:
The simplicity of the layout reminded me of a sheet of notepad. A reviewer said that the learning curve is steep. After learning the basics of Github - I feel I can try anything. The thing that sealed the deal for me - it’s open source. I ran it by Smokymok - my boyfriend - and got the all-clear.
The time-consuming task has begun. Transferring all my paper records into WikidPad - I got all the primary characters in this week. There is so much about my world that I haven’t decided yet and a lot of that comes out when people crit my chapters. I need to get the information sorted.
What should a Series Bible contain?
That’s up to the individual writer and their world.
I once again asked Google for suggestions - it is a tough one, you can end up with way too many categories very quickly. Which is what happened to me. I still have all of the categories but I decided to put them in groups: Agriculture, Art, Calendar, Characters, Cities, Climate, Dangers, Education, Government, Humour, Religion, Romance, Social Classes, Sub-Cultures, and The Sickness. In these groups, there are a list of sub-groups. I’m not saying that I’ll use them all - I needed something to start with. As I progress, I will more than likely, change things around and rename categories, etc.
What I love about WikidPad?
Are the wikilinks: Either by pairing a word or phrase with square brackets or by using CamelCase, I can create a link. By double-clicking on this link, it will take me to that file.
For example, I can be writing in Jasper’s file and write [Silvercore] as his place of birth. Clicking on Silvercore will bring me into the Cities category and into the file named Silvercore. Once there, I can add residents and write [Jasper] and that will link me back to the first file.
For the moment, I’m working chronologically through my documents. When I get to create it, though, I’ll be able to move about easily and add information as it comes up across the board. It is fascinating and a great motivator to get my documents transferred.
Paper will still be my first go-to when creating. I have my Zap book - a.k.a my waste book - for that. Having a program on my computer that I can open up and toggle through while writing is so much more convenient than finding my binder, wiping the dust off, flicking through the pages and being careful not to rip them, and finally finding that tiny detail amongst a mass of text.
How do you stay organised when you’re worldbuilding? Do you prefer paper to electronic methods? Or vice-versa?
Photo: binders by sparr0 courtesy of License.