How to Make a Story Bible

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.

Plotting

  • Novel Outline
  • Breakdown of Obstacles Throughout Novel
  • Hero’s Journey (or a different plot structure that fits your novel such as The Quest)

Tracking

  • Word Count Sheet
  • Glossary
  • Names List & Meanings

Characters

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)

Setting

  • World Description
  • Place Descriptions & Pics
  • Maps
  • Building Layouts
  • Religions
  • Rules
  • Governing Body
  • Magic/Fantasy Elements
  • Basic World Building

Feedback

  • Beta Reader Questionnaire
  • Beta Reader Agreements (more info here)

Marketing

  • Genre Guide
  • Target Audience
  • Blurb
  • Synopsis
  • Cover Ideas
  • Notes on Cost of Marketing Aspects (cover art, social media, courses to do etc.)

Research

  • List of Websites, Books & People Used
  • Printed Articles
  • Notes

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!

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