A lot of planning, ideas & research goes into writing a novel, even more so if you’re constructing a series. It can be a challenge to keep track of everything you’ve worked out for your characters & plot, especially if you’ve been writing your novel for a while or have lots of moving parts. A story bible makes this a lot easier.
A story bible is a place where you can keep all the information you’ve collated for your story – character descriptions, world building information & plot outlines etc. In this blog post I’ll be breaking down what I put into each story bible I make. This obviously differs from person to person (& genre) so if I mention things you don’t need or I miss out more niche notes that you feel are necessary – simply include them in your own story bible. The benefit of story bibles is that you make it work for you, it’s designed specifically for that story.
I tend to break my story bibles into sections to make it easier to find the information I need. You can find more inspiration for notes you may not have considered in this post about making writing easier.
- Novel Outline
- Breakdown of Obstacles Throughout Novel
- Hero’s Journey (or a different plot structure that fits your novel such as The Quest)
- Word Count Sheet
- Names List & Meanings
I give each main character a separate section & one section for secondary characters.
- Character Profile
- Personality Chart (Myers Briggs Test)
- Characterisation (quotes of physical descriptions & speech samples)
- Backstory Timeline (for each main character)
- Consistency Timeline (more info here)
- World Description
- Place Descriptions & Pics
- Building Layouts
- Governing Body
- Magic/Fantasy Elements
- Basic World Building
- Beta Reader Questionnaire
- Beta Reader Agreements (more info here)
- Genre Guide
- Target Audience
- Cover Ideas
- Notes on Cost of Marketing Aspects (cover art, social media, courses to do etc.)
- List of Websites, Books & People Used
- Printed Articles
What do you include in your story bibles? Or what are you planning to include? I’d love to know if I’ve missed anything!