Saturday, July 5, 2008

I know it's here someplace...

Yesterday I spent most of the day organizing my series bibles. You may ask what a series bible is... well, it's a notebook, spreadsheet, etc, that you keep all of your information in so that you can refer back to it without re-reading all of your books to find out what color Joe's eyes were! Yep. You have all sorts of info in there. Character descriptions, maps, glossaries, time-lines, whatever you need.

I worked mostly on updating my Mystic Valley bible. In there I have family lists, village rosters, a birth/death/bonding list, maps, a list of all the named sentient species, occupations, family trees, laws, special tools, ...and the list goes on. There are research notes on musical instruments, weaponry, stained glass, medicinal herbs, pottery, hunting, military tactics, and scaffolding, just to name a few. Um, weaving, spinning, plant dyes, paper making, and the beat goes on.

A series bible helps you keep track of who married who, who's related to who, and how old they are. It could be embarrassing if the hero married his aunt once removed and she was only eleven at the time.

The problem is that it takes TIME to keep up the series bible and I confess that I'm out of date. I also have multiple bibles for the multiple series I have in progress so there's always work to do. Somethings change from the original entries you make when you're planning a book and then you have to go back and update things. Sigh. So organizing is not one of my skills.

Anyway, it was as good a way to spend the fourth of July as any. I did accomplish quite a bit as there was no e-mail, minimal blogging, and no phone calls to interrupt my ambitious plans. Finally, late in the evening, I was sitting at the computer thinking boring thoughts when a friend rescued me from my boredom by calling me from Australia. Yep, my friend Amarinda called and we had quite an enjoyable visit.

It was raining in Australia which was a cause for celebration. Water falling from the sky in whatever small amount is always wonderful when you're in the long end of a drought. So I wish for more rain for them--especially the kind of rain that fills the reservoirs!

I suspect that I will spend most of today on more organizing! I still have the Avalon bible to bring up to date. And the Elyria bible. and the Jericho bible. I'm working on a time travel and I found a pile of research notes for that. Little did I know that my secretarial skills were going to be put to good use in my retirement.

So fellow authors--tell me. How do you organize your research/info for your books? Are you a paper and notebook person or do you use an electronic spreadsheet? Or are you brave and just wing it? Do you use forms to fill out? Or do you just scrawl out a bunch of notes? What's your plan?



  1. I need to do a series bible. You're so good. I've been winging it.

    I'm so organized at the day job. I need to emulate that in my writing. Sometimes I use spread sheets. I need to do that more often.

  2. No, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to writing hoping that my memory sustains my work - but then I don't write series so I have less to remember.

    And always a pip talking to you ZQ

  3. I spent better part of a day doing that the other day for my WIP. It's complicated and a whole different world than my Were stuff so I had to start the bible from scratch. I also started a scene index, which I've never done before for that work. I'm going to see if it is of any help.

  4. I wing it. Never even thought of mapping everything out. See? You really are organized!

    Perhaps I'll call and rescue you later.

  5. Excellent! I love being rescued!

  6. I'm not that organized, Annycoo. I keep a detailed outline. After a chapter is written I go back and outline. It has all those details in it. I keep all the outlines for references and find it's especially helpful during edits.

  7. After the fiasco last month, I am all for keeping a hard copy around.

    Case in point: My handwritten TBB list doesn't even have your KSL on it! From now on, I'll keep TWO on the hard drive and one in a drawer.

    My series bible is a handwritten notebook:)

    Oh; glad to know my efforts to send the rain to Brisbane worked!

  8. Sorry, Anny...too many cocktails. Rescue rescheduled for tomorrow.

  9. Wow...I fly by the seat of my pants for sure. But It's gonna get me in trouble, I'm afraid. Going to have to do I bible once I start my series stuff. I write notes on legal pads and there's no rhymn or reason (kind of like my closet).

    Oh, glad Amarinda called and she got rain. That's wonderfu.