Marne and I are both working on new projects. Marne started the third book of “The Fae Dragon Chronicles". I’m working on a whole new project, which blends the old west, (my first love) and a little fantasy (my second love).
We’re both excited, motivated and diligently writing. Yay.
Normally Marne has a canvas bag sitting next to her computer when she writes. The bag holds notebooks, three rings binders, sticky notes, bits of paper...you get the idea. Her filing cabinet full of information regarding her stories. Character sketches, tidbits about her world and the creatures and people who live in it.
Me, I’m more of a electronic person. I don’t have a canvas bag, but I have a pile of thumb drives. Sometimes I pick them all up and play with them. They click together very nicely, kind of like dice. It’s a sensory thing.
Each thumb drive holds various files and folders, (and, truth be told, various versions of the same files). I pretend my thumb drives are color coded.
The blue one holds notes and research.
The black one, versions one and two (and maybe three and four) of my manuscript.
The red one submissions and feedback from critique group.
The other black one (with the little plastic cap) contains ideas for future work, brainstorming, and things. I don’t exactly remember what.
The purple one backs up the black one, because you should always have several backups, right?
The pink one with flowers, well it holds backups of personal stuff and important spreadsheets.
The red one with the black skulls doesn’t work any longer, but I’m afraid to throw it away. I don’t remember what’s on it.
You get the idea...Marne’s canvas bag on disc.
Unlike my brilliant husband, who doesn’t seem to need a story bible, my memory sucks. Between Marne and I, we’ve written more than a few manuscripts over the years and there are times I remember more about her characters than I do my own.
We were both spending too much time looking for information.
I don’t remember who first realized we needed story bibles. I’m pretty sure I was first to create my computer file, complete with an index and page references. However, Marne’s memory is much better than mine and she says her “big” three ring bible, with tabs and a written index, came into creation first.
Regardless, we are both stoked. We are organized!!!!
And, we’ve fed off of each other. Marne now has an electronic story bible, but I secretly covet that very cool binder that has a plastic pocket with colored pens and highlighters. When she isn’t watching, I run my fingers along the tabs, flip through the pages and doodle with her pens. What writer doesn’t love office supplies?
Our story bibles have morphed from mere information dumps, into the structure of our worlds. We can click on a highlighted page number and add to the paragraph explaining the rules of our world’s magic; with the push of a button, we are re-analyzing our villian's GMCs; in seconds we’re able to read what we wrote last month about our protagonist’s culture. And now when I can’t remember if my heroine’s eyes are sea-green or sky-blue (I am a romance writer, after all), it just takes a click of my mouse to find out.
Dang we’re good. Sometimes it just takes two heads to figure it all out.
What about you? Do you use a story bible. If so, how did you develop it? What’s in it?
If not, how do you keep all that info in a pile and accessible? Maybe you just have a better memory than I do. It wouldn’t be hard, cuz like I said, mine sucks.
Just as important, do you have critique partners and writing friends to help you solve problems?
I have a world to create, as well as creatures, religions and, of course, the characters.
All I needed was a story bible.