What Color Were His Eyes Again? 10 Reasons to Keep a Series Bible.
As I’m writing this, I just finished developmental edits on my third cozy mystery in the Tourist Trap Mystery series. I’ve contracted with eKensington for these three and hope to continue our relationship.
However, the more books I write in the small tourist town of South Cove, the more I realize I need a series bible.
A series bible is a document or a notebook or even a stack of index cards that list out the main facts about your characters. Places, people, eye color, they all need consistency. Unless of course you write paranormal and make it part of your world that things change!
Let’s get to the things to keep in your series bible.
#10 –Past marital or relationship status of your characters. Were they just getting out of a bad marriage in book one or just broke up with a boyfriend?
#9- Full names (even if you never use them), age, hair color, eye color, build. The basics of a character that will be with you for a long time.
#8-Secondary characters you may want to use in the next book.
#7-Your secondary characters names, relationships, hair color, eye color, build. Who they were friends and/or lovers with in the book or before.
#6-Draw a map of your town. Especially if you use setting as a character. That way you’ll know what stores your main character will pass on the way home, and who they may run into.
#5-If your stores have a history, write that down. My MC’s coffee shop has an agreement with Diamond Lille’s the only other restaurant. Lille’s doesn’t serve latte’s and Jill’s doesn’t do dinners.
#4-A list of characters –major, secondary, and minor. You never know when you might want to expand someone’s role.
#3-Annual events. Does your main character always go to the tropics for Christmas? Does the town have a winter and summer carnival? Who runs these events?
#2-Personal traits – My main character’s best friend has a metabolism from heaven. She can eat anything and not gain an ounce. Since she’s an avid surfer, that’s probably why. But once I established that in book one, it became part of her traits. To change it, I’d have to explain a drastic reason.
#1-Anything you think you might use in another book. By the time I’m finishing a book, I’m already thinking about the next adventure.
Remember, it’s your world. You can change history. But you have to remember what you’ve written. A series bible will allow you to keep track of all those pesky details so you can focus on writing the next book rather than finding a minor character’s name or place of employment.
My third book in The Council Series has been put off while I finish other ‘contracted’ projects. Before I start writing the next book, I’ll read the first two, make my notes, and review my series bible. Since I’m a pantser, having those details refreshed in my memory will allow me to write faster.
So do you have a series bible?
Lynn Cahoon is a multi-published author. An Idaho native, her stories focus around the depth and experience of small town life and love. Lynn has not only published in Chicken Soup anthologies, she has explored controversial stories for the confessional magazines, her short stories have been featured in Women’s World, and she’s published in contemporary and paranormal romantic fiction.
Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies. She can be found at www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com