I am starting over again on the creation of what will be the first in a series of cozy mysteries. I have attempted the creation of this book several times, and each time the characters and plot shift. Is this normal? Of course it is! So how do we keep track of all of this? How do we make sense out of it? For me to keep track of my characters, as well as the story line as it develops, I have always kept a bible.
What is a writer's bible? Our bible is where we keep all of the details of the concept behind our story, detailed descriptions of our characters, plot twists, settings, and cultural references. We use our bible to keep the story straight, to keep it believable, and to keep our characters "in character".
How do we create our bible? I do mine as a series of e-files (mainly because my writing is illegible, even to me). You can do a hand written file, if that works better for you. With an e-file, you can choose to keep it open as you write, so that you can add details as your writing progresses. This works best for me, but it may not work for everyone. I print mine out and put them in a three ring binder, for easy access as I am writing, as well as for brainstorming.
What do I include in each section of my story bible? It goes something like this:
The story concept is the bones of the story - the How, What, When, Where, Why, and Who. In defining my story's concept, I include:
1. The genre I am writing in. For me, it is cozy mystery.
2. Where the story is to take place - the physical location or locations.
3, Who my main character is. (For me, this will remain the same through a series of stories.)
4. What is happening, and what is going to affect what is happening.
1. Where the story takes place - city, state,country.
2. During what time period the story takes place.
There are actually sites that will generate plot twists for you:
1. Main plot (where the major action is).
2. Sub-plots: used to build the narrative, and move the action along. I list each of the sub-plots separately.
3. Use a plot twist to either create or eliminate suspicion.
4. Use a plot twist to deepen the story.
3. Where and when born.
4. Who the parents were/are, where they live. (I list this even when I do not intend to use it int he story, as it is part of who the character is.)
8. Where they live.
9. Where they work.
10. Where and when they went to school,
11. Languages spoken.
12. How they dress.
13. What music they like.
14.What food they like.
15. What food they don't like.
16. Where they like to travel.
17. Where they have traveled.
20. Personal interests
21. Personal conflicts
22. Height23. Weight
25. Eye Color
26. Hair Color
27. Distinguishing features
28. Style of dress?
29. Favorite sayings
30. Speech patterns
31. Best quality
32. Worst quality
As you can see, each writer will define their Story Bible as they see fit. They will include what is important for them, and for the story's they create. As you start writing, start your Bible. Add to it as you write. Take the time each day to transfer what is necessary into your Bible. In this way you won't have to go back and rewrite sections due to an error in continuity.
Have fun with this!
(c) February 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.