Friday, September 7, 2012

What's a Book Bible and why do I need one? by Barbara Edwards

                        Building a Book ‘Bible’ 

Ancient Awakening started as a romance and a stand-alone book. It quickly changed, became complicated and detailed. The different characters blurred after several chapters and I realized I needed a better way to keep track of eye color, hair style, physical description and other pesky details. I’ve used character sheets, interview sheets, lists and found they didn’t meet my needs.
Then another author mentioned using a ‘bible’ and the light bulb flashed over my head. What could be easier than a method I could do on the fly?
After creating a new document I quickly skimmed what I had already written. To make it easy to find, I used bold for the character name. It was easy to copy/paste sections of description any time I mentioned him/her.
Let me amend that. I copy the information when I go back to do a simple edit. I never stop the writing process for editing. It breaks the flow and I don’t recommend using anything that does that.
I also found it helpful to have a timeline of events. Mine is at the front of the ‘bible,’ but you can put it anywhere.
Once I decided Ancient Awakening was the first of a series set in Rhodes End, I added the town as a character. I’m also drawing a map using my characters actions. You’d be surprised to know how hard it is to recall if you turn right or left out of the driveway to get to the cemetery.
Since I’ve finished Ancient Blood and been working on three, Ancient Curse, the information is invaluable. I have opened ‘bible’ two and three, copied the appropriate character descriptions as needed, and keep on writing.
I’ve found it helpful to add research details. So many times I’ve wasted time hunting for that important detail because I couldn’t recall the spelling, the year, whatever.
The ‘bible’ is meant to be a flexible tool. I recommend it.
Let me know if you think this will work for use. Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win an ebook copy of Ancient Awakening.


Laura Breck said...

Great suggestion, Barbara. I've got post-it notes all over with my pertinent info. I need to 'bibleize' it. Just need to find the time to do it... LOL

Jannine Gallant said...

My method is a little less formal. I create character sketches in a notebook. One of these days I should take my method into the 21st century.

Colleen Connally said...

I don't think I have a method to my madness. I should be more organized. Thanks for the tips.

glenys said...

I learned this from author Phylis Whitney, who called it the novel planner notebook. Your description of it is clear and very useful! I guess you could say it's similar to the 'Murder Book' in a homicide investigation :-)

Anonymous said...

That sounds like the perfect solution. I've been making summaries of chapters in longhand. I'm going to try your method. Thanks!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Coming in late. Sorry. I too read about this a la Phyllis Whitney. A good way to go for a complicated work.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Great post, Barb. My agent sends us Charater Sheets on which we must list every person within the manuscript, their physical, mental and job descriptions, plus any habits and unusual speeh patterns. This helps keeps us organized as we write, too. I just keep the spread sheet open as I write for quick reference.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Vonnie,
I think its good to use what works best for you.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Margo,
I loved Phyllis Whitney. I agree it works.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Glenys,
I didn't think of it as a murder books, but that does sound similar

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Jerri,
Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who can remember details.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Jannine,
I firmly believe in doing what works for you.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Laura,
I suggest starting from where you are. The old stuff can be added when you're into final edits.

good luck