Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Book Bible

Welcome to talented author Ana Pergakis. I asked her to do a series of posts on The Book Bible. No one has ever successfully explained to me how to set one up, and how to use it when writing a stand alone book or series. Because I looked hard and wide for someone who actually used one, when I learned about Ana's plan, I was thrilled she agreed to share it with all of us. Please join us for
the next three days as she shows us how to do it.

THE FIRST POST

Thank you so much Sharon for letting me be here! I’m truly honored. I want to start this post with a little disclaimer if you will. When it comes to Book Bibles, there is no right or wrong way to organize them. I will tell you how I set up mine and you can change it to what works for you.

Now let’s get into the thick of things shall we? For the purpose of this post, I’ll use my Book Bible that I made for my fantasy adventure series, The Kinir Elite Chronicles.


What you need:

A three ring binder (one for each book or series)

Tab dividers (make sure you have plenty!)

Printer (including paper and ink of course)

A three hole punch (or a single one will work too)

Your imagination

Labels (big and small) (optional)

Setting it up:

Now for a series, I keep all the information for the entire series in one notebook. Since characters and settings often repeat themselves, I find it’s easier to keep up with all the details this way. However, the set it up is the same for a single book as well, just less tabs. For the rest of this explanation, I’ll talk about setting it up for a series, just change what you need to for a single book.

First thing I do is take a big label (ya know the ones about the same size as those name tags you stick on your shirt) and write the title of the series on it then stick it on the front of the binder. Then I use the smaller labels – narrow ones, and write the name again with the letters on top of each other for the spine. (This way you can still see the title when it’s on the shelf.) Now you don’t have to use labels. You can use paper and simply tape or glue them on. Whatever works for you.

With the tab dividers label them as so: Characters, Setting, and Notes. You can add more if you like of course. For example, I have a tab for Languages because my characters have their own language that I need to remember through out the entire series. If your book centers around politics or religion in some way, you can have a tab for that also.

I’ll talk about each of these tabs in more detail later on. Now, the rest of the tabs are for the Plot. Since I don’t always know the titles of the books in my series, I just label the tabs “Book 1 Plot,” “Book 2 Plot,” etc.

Now that your binder is ready to be filled with fabulous information, it’s time to get your imagination in gear!

I’m going skip the Character and Setting tabs for today, as both are very detailed and make for long posts.

Notes (and other tabs)

For a brief explanation, of my Languages tab that I use for my books. Since my characters are usually elves, dragons, faeries, etc, I always give them their own languages. Now, there are those that make up an entire language like J.R.R. Tolkien did with his elves in “Lord of the Rings.” I would keep such a thing in this section too. But, I don’t go that far. Usually I just have a few words for the languages – Mother, Father, Yes, No, Greetings, Currency, etc.

I set up a spreadsheet in Excel for this. I have it divided like this: Word/Phrase | Pronunciation | Direct Translation | Meaning.

The first two columns are pretty self explanatory. The made up word and how you pronounce it. The last two I’ll explain with an example.

In my series the Kinir Elite Chronicles, the team has a saying (my elves here speak Latin by the way) Vivo Liber. Morior Bonum. The direct translation of the phrase is “Live Slow. Die Fast.” (At least as I want it to mean, I’m sure my Latin isn’t perfect!). But under the Meaning column, I explain further that really the meaning behind the words is to wish someone a long, joyous life and to not suffer in death. Of course, not all words or phrases will need the extra explanation.

My Notes tab I use to keep random bits of information. One of the characters in my Kinir Elite series is a very religious person and is often praying to one God or Goddess. So I have the few deities that I made up so I remember them later. I also include any symbols I made to represent them.

Basically, the Notes tabs hold any information that you have to remember, but doesn’t need a full section in the notebook on its own. Like a few deities or government ranks, etc. My rule of thumb is if I have more than a page of notes, then it warrants having its own section in the notebook.

The Plot Tabs

This section I hold copies of my query letter, synopsis, blurb, etc.

I also make my own cover art to use on my website and blog, so I also print a copy of that here. I would keep a printed copy of the official cover art in this section also.

When the book is completely finished – as in about to be released and I literally have all the edits done, I print a copy of the manuscript and put it in this section also. This is so that when I go to write the next book, I can refer to the notebook, instead of juggling two open word docs on my computer.

Now, to keep these posts from being too long, I’ll stop here. Please tune in tomorrow! I’ll explain the Character tab in detail tomorrow.

If you have any questions about something I didn’t explain well enough, please leave a comment here. I’ll be sure to visit all day to answer your questions.

7 comments:

  1. Ana, I'm definitely a plotter. I love your book bible. I may have to start doing something like this so I can stay consistant in my stories. Thanks.

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  2. Jill, I love it too. Definitely well thought out. You should see what she has in store for us tomorrow.

    I'm glad it helps. And good for you as a plotter. I think the more I write, the more that way I'm going to go.

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  3. Jill, yes this will definitely help you keep up on all the information you need for your book. I used to be a panster but now I'm totally a plotter - and some might say I go to far with it really! LOL

    Thanks Sharon!

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  4. Hello to two of my favorite people! Hi, Anastasia. Hi, Sharon. *waves* It has been too long. I'm afraid that I have yet to figure out how best to use my limited time. I'm hardly blogging these days. Actually, today is the first day in weeks!
    Thanks for the planning info, Anastasia. I fear that I'm stuck between thinking that I don't need to do this and not being able to recall what color hair I gave that villian. Lol!
    I hope you both are well.
    Take care and much success.

    Your buddy,
    -Jimmy

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  5. Jimmy, so nice to hear from you. You must come back tomorrow to see what she has done. Really amazing.
    Miss you, and you're welcome here anytime.

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  6. Jimmy! Balancing everything we writers do with real life can be hard. I struggle with it all the time. That is why I am almost OCD with my organization. I have to be otherwise nothing gets done. It does upset me sometimes that I feel I have to pencil in time with my husband, but it works out in the end as I have time for both writing and my family.

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